Dear GOP: Look What Trump Just Did in Arkansas
Donald Trump just made a big splash in the 2022 elections. As usual, many of the establishment Republicans in Congress are refusing to learn. They continue to lose battles by sticking to “muh conservative principles” instead of standing up and fighting for the American people. Oh, well. We’ll get them purged eventually.
In the meantime, President Trump has endorsed one of his loyal friends from his first term. Sarah Huckabee Sanders is running for Governor of Arkansas, as Trump had counseled her to do. What happened in response to Trump’s endorsement is the part that guys like Mitch McConnell, Lindsey Graham, and Ted Cruz should be paying attention to.
Sarah Sanders, most folks will remember, was Trump’s White House Press Secretary from 2017 to 2019. Her father, Mike Huckabee, was the popular former Governor of Arkansas who ran for president and now hosts a show on TBN. I never knew Mike personally, although I did get the opportunity to do a lot of work for him in the early 2010s on efforts to repeal Obamacare. I did get to chat with Mike’s wife Janet (Sarah’s mother) during the 2008 GOP primaries for president.
You know how people always say he/she is “one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet.” Janet Huckabee is like that. She’s a true, genuine Southern belle – polite to a fault and with a spine of steel. She struck me as a person who could have the ladies over for tea and then go skeet shooting after everyone left. Anyway, with parents like that, it’s easy to see how Sarah turned out so well!
Sarah Sanders seems eminently qualified for running the State of Arkansas. She already has a ton of experience at one of the most important jobs that a modern Republican politician can have: Pushing media dorks around. She handled the White House press corps with deftness and agility, and frequently pushed back against them just as effectively as Trump himself.
Most of us also remember when a social justice mob chased Sarah Sanders and her family out of a restaurant in Lexington, Virginia in 2018. Several other Trump officials quit their jobs when similar things happened, because they were too weak and afraid to stand up for themselves. Sarah stayed on the job for another year after that incident. Good for her. Plus, she proved to voters that she really won’t back down when confronted with a Twitter cancel mob. We need more leaders like that in office across the country.
Here’s the remarkable thing that happened after Trump endorsed Sarah Sanders: Everybody else who was running for the Republican nomination in Arkansas suddenly dropped out of the race. Trump’s endorsement effectively cleared the decks for Sarah Sanders, so she will now be the sole Republican running for governor in a solidly red state.
Arkansas’ current Lieutenant Governor, Tim Griffin, launched his campaign for governor a year ago in March. In that time, he’s already raised $1.8 million for his campaign war chest. He dropped out of that race on Monday and announced that he’s decided, for no particular reason at all, to run for Attorney General in the 2022 elections in Arkansas. Heh!
Arkansas Senate President Jim Hendren was expected to run for Governor, but with Trump’s endorsement of Sanders, he now says “maybe” he’ll run as an independent. Arkansas’ Attorney General Leslie Rutledge is also running, but… let’s just say she’s probably considering other options for her career right now.
The GOP establishment in Washington should be paying attention to this. Tim Griffin was a solid candidate for Governor of Arkansas. But he sees the writing on the wall. There’s no point in wasting an entire campaign, when the outcome is pretty much already assured by Trump’s endorsement of Sanders.
Have you noticed that many state-level politicians have caught up with the American people on “Trumpism,” even as the GOP establishment continues trying to pretend that it’s still 2006? State-level pols are much closer to their constituents than the swamp creatures in DC, so that’s probably to be expected.
Donald Trump has shifted the tone, direction and focus of the Republican Party, even as the establishmentarians continue to claim that it’s “their” party. Good luck with that, guys. You’re going to love working with “Governor Sanders” and all the other candidates that Trump throws his weight behind!