In the world of politics, the internet can be a force for good of for ill – the jury is still out on that. What can be said with some certainty is that the web can lead you to unexpected places.
I discovered some of these places during the past year or so while surfing the web in search of news, about the U.S. primaries and the presidential election. How it happened, I don’t know, but my inbox began to fill up with urgent, even desperate, appeals – for money to assist a variety of Republican campaigns. The Democrats left me alone, but the Republicans captured me on their sucker lists.
It began with pitches for donations from candidates Donald Trump, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio and from some of the political action committees (known as PACs) that were bankrolling their campaigns in the primaries. After the primaries, it was Donald Trump and his backers demanding money to Make American Great Again by crushing “Lying” Hillary Clinton, her liberal elitists and other swamp creatures.
For a non-American watching from the cheap seats, the frantic fundraising activity provided a kind of rear window through which to observe to internal dynamics of a U.S. political machine.
After the election, the Republicans moved into a new phase, raising money to reinforce President Trump and his America First agenda by electing right-thinking Republicans in special elections for senator, congressman, governor, judge and even, in scattered cases, sheriff.
Now they seem to be entering a third phase: an internecine struggle for the soul of the GOP – or, if not the soul, at least the levers of party power. The fundraising reflects the competition within the White House – “nationalists” versus “globalists.”
Last week brought an appeal from a new campaign to “Ditch Mitch.” This being Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader. No, it’s not the Democrats who want to Ditch Mitch; it’s his own party’s right wing.
“Fellow Conservative,” the appeal begins, “the United States Senate is broken and there is no single person more responsible for this than Senator Mitch McConnell. ... The Senate will never enact the president's agenda as long as McConnell is the leader. There will be no Obamacare repeal, no significant tax reform, no border wall, no term limits, and no balanced budget. The alligators in the swamp – protected by McConnell's political machine – will continue to ignore the voters ...
“Help us tell Senate Republicans: "Ditch Mitch NOW!”
Next in the email queue: an appeal from Solution Fund PAC, which asks me to give what I can, from $50 to $5,000, to help the candidate who proudly calls himself “The Ten Commandments Judge,” conservative Roy Moore, in a runoff for the Republican nomination for the Alabama Senate seat vacated by Jeff Sessions when he became Trump’s attorney general. A former chief justice of Alabama, Moore was suspended from the state supreme court on two occasions for defying the orders of higher courts – once for refusing to remove a Ten Commandments monument from the courthouse and once for refusing to accept the legality of homosexual marriage.
The Solution Fund appeals makes Moore’s run-off opponent, a Republican with the unfortunate name of Luther Strange, sound like a weak-kneed liberal compared to the good judge’s “unflinching support for restoring our military, repealing Obamacare, building the wall on our southern border, protecting the rights of gun owners, and smashing ‘Sanctuary Cities.’”
Lastly, this post-Charlottesville appeal from something called the “Great America Alliance” for an “emergency contribution” of $25 to $250 to help Trump do what the Republicans in Congress will not do: defend him from the “hateful lies” of CNN and rest of the “fake news” media: “Never in history has a President faced such an onslaught of vicious personal attacks and lies. The media has confirmed that no matter what President Trump says or does they will not stop until they have personally destroyed the President and our America First agenda.”
Poor Donald. So sad! So sad!