At the same time, the Arizona GOP voted to censure Republican Gov. Doug Ducey for failing to steal the election for Trump. Ducey, in turn, has decided to bow out of the 2022 Senate race, where Republicans will be trying to reclaim at least one of the seats they have lost to Democrats in the last two cycles. In other words, a proven winner in the state with top name recognition has already been forced aside for lesser known, more fringy GOP candidates.
Similar dynamics are taking place in Texas, a one-time ruby red state Democrats are now eagerly working to turn into the next Arizona or Georgia.
Good news: State Republicans are here to help. The Texas GOP just selected fringe leader and former Florida congressman Allen West as state chair. West immediately adopted a QAnon-adjacent slogan for the party: “We are the storm.” He also recently floated pro-secession rhetoric, urging “law-abiding states should bond together and form a union of states that will abide by the Constitution.”
The GOP’s rightward lurch in Texas comes on the heels of an election in which the state’s suburbs actually lurched left. As the Daily Kos Elections data hounds have noted, Biden flipped the 24th congressional district in the Dallas-Fort Worth suburbs and “made major gains” in a number of other suburban districts, nearly winning no fewer than seven of them. Nothing about where the state Republican Party is heading is likely to woo back those voters at a time when Democratic organizers sense greater opportunity to flip GOP strongholds than they have in decades.
A similar story among GOP parties is unfolding in key Midwestern swing states, with state leaders also moving right even after state voters swung away from Trump in 2020, reestablishing Democrats’ hold on the region.
State party officials in Michigan, writes The Washington Post, are “set to install a co-chair, Meshawn Maddock, who participated in a rally near the Capitol the day before Trump supporters stormed the building.” Maddock reportedly helped organize busses for the Jan. 6 rally-turned-riot and her husband, state Rep. Matt Maddock, is a conspiracy theory enthusiast.
In a Jan. 6 tweet, Maddock called rally attendees/seditionists “the most incredible crowd and sea of people I’ve ever walked with.”
In Minnesota, GOP party chair Jennifer Carnahan was also a purveyor of conspiracy theories that the state’s 2020 results showed “extreme abnormalities and statistical variations from Minnesota’s historic voter trends.” Carnahan called it “unusual” that Trump performed worse in 2020 than he had in 2016 even though he worked harder to win the state. Apparently Carnahan never considered the notion that Trump repelled people and, in fact, had worse outcomes in nearly every Rust Belt state he poured resources into, including Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.
In fact, the suburban move away from Trumpism and toward Democrats held in nearly every decisive swing state in the 2020 cycle, including Arizona, Minnesota, and Michigan, where state Republican officials are all moving in the opposite direction. In some cases, it wasn’t enough to fully flip heavily gerrymandered state and congressional districts, but the trend held and certainly helped deliver the states along with some critical Senate races to Democrats.
If state Republican parties continue to alienate suburban voters, the GOP will find itself almost solely dependent on Trump voters to win elections. The dynamic could very well prove disastrous for Republicans since Trump voters have yet to prove they will show up to the polls in any election where Trump isn’t on the ticket.