Democrats should hang their heads in shame for helping oust principled Republican

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·3 min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Shame on you, Democrats.

That’s the big takeaway from Tuesday’s West Michigan primary upset that saw a MAGA, election-conspiracist candidate prevail over freshman incumbent Republican Rep. Peter Meijer.

The state’s 3rd Congressional District was watched nationally because of the Trump dynamics at play. Meijer is one of 10 Republicans who voted to impeach former President Donald Trump last year after the Jan. 6 riot. The vote made him a pariah to the Trump faithful.

Oddly, it also made Meijer a target of Democrats, who dumped nearly half a million dollars on a TV ad that boosted Meijer’s opponent John Gibbs by showcasing his far-right Trump credentials. The amount the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee spent on this ad is more than Gibbs raised during his entire campaign.

Where's the patriotism? Democrats run ad to boost Trump candidate in congressional race

A dangerous bet by Democrats

Democrats made the dangerous bet that helping get the MAGA candidate elected would clear the path for flipping the seat come November. Attorney Hillary Scholten, the Democrat whom Meijer defeated by 6 points in 2020, is again making a run for the seat.

Rep. Peter Meijer, R-Mich.
Rep. Peter Meijer, R-Mich.

Oakland University political science professor David Dulio told me Monday that if Meijer had won the primary, he likely would have prevailed in November. A Gibbs win, meanwhile, is an all but certain Democratic victory in a district that now leans more left after recent redistricting.

Democrats' fingerprints on election

In a piece for Common Sense, Meijer put it this way: “If successful, Republican voters will be blamed if any of these (Trump-endorsed) candidates are ultimately elected, but there is no doubt Democrats’ fingerprints will be on the weapon. We should never forget it.”

Primaries: Election conspiracies and Donald Trump's long trail of broken brains

Democrats' risky gamble doesn’t support their purported defense of democracy, which they’ve broadcast loudly during weeks of televised congressional hearings investigating Trump’s involvement in what went down Jan. 6, 2021.

Democratic leaders probably hope that everyone will forget their meddling in the race, and you can bet they’ll use Republicans’ “choice” of Gibbs as rationale for painting the whole party as tinfoil-hat wearing extremists.

The cost of impeachment vote

So far, Meijer is one of two Republicans who voted to impeach Trump to suffer a primary loss. Two others from Washington state survived their primaries Tuesday. Four of the 10 aren’t seeking reelection at all.

The most prominent of the 10 Republicans is Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney, who is up next in her Aug. 16 primary. It’s not looking good for her, especially given her very public role as vice chair of the Jan. 6 select committee. Cheney has already faced punishment from the party, losing her leadership role in the House after her impeachment vote and continued criticism of Trump.

Trump has had mixed results as GOP kingmaker, but the message Tuesday seems to be that candidates who cross him risk a backlash at the ballot box.

Let's stop rehashing 2020

USA TODAY columnist Ingrid Jacques
USA TODAY columnist Ingrid Jacques

I would love to see the party move past Trump and rehashing the 2020 election. And I know most moderate Republicans and mainstream conservatives feel the same.

Primaries typically play to the party faithful, however, and Democrats are doing everything they can to help the most extreme GOP candidates whom they think they can defeat more easily in November, when a broader base of voters heads to the polls.

It’s despicable, and as Meijer said, don’t forget it.

More from Ingrid Jacques:

Michigan primary tests Trump’s role as Republicans' anointer-in-chief

Medical students shunned a doctor because of her abortion views. Is this what America has become?

New Biden Title IX rules would use civil rights office … to strip civil rights from students

Ingrid Jacques is a columnist at USA TODAY. Contact her at ijacques@usatoday.com or on Twitter: @Ingrid_Jacques

You can read diverse opinions from our Board of Contributors and other writers on the Opinion front page, on Twitter @usatodayopinion and in our daily Opinion newsletter. To respond to a column, submit a comment to letters@usatoday.com.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Democrats help Trump-backed extremist win in Michigan primary election