Daily Wire founder Ben Shapiro told his audience that “Candidate quality matters. Americans want stability and sobriety. … [They] are sick of crazy right now. … If you pick bad candidates you are going to lose.”
This might have been a somewhat plausible argument if Pennsylvanians hadn’t elected a mentally handicapped, thumb-sucking, hooded vegetable as their senator who enjoys releasing convicted murderers out onto the streets and wants to empty prisons by more than 30 percent. This, as voters listed crime as one of the most important issues for the midterm elections. Not to mention Fetterman is as radically far-left as they come.
But sure, Pennsylvanians chose Fetterman over GOP candidate Mehmet Oz because Oz just wasn’t a “quality” candidate (despite having celebrity name recognition, Trump’s endorsement, a baseline IQ, and the sense to push for U.S. energy dominance). Clearly the GOP’s failure to run quality candidates must also be why residents of the Keystone State reelected a dead man to the Pennsylvania state house.
But what happens when the GOP runs “quality” candidates? They lose, too. Remember when Republicans ran Mitt Romney as their 2012 GOP presidential candidate? Romney was the textbook candidate at that time. Despite that, then-Vice President Joe Biden told black Americans the GOP nominee would “put y’all back in chains” and then-President Obama cruised to a second presidential term (while averaging a low approval rating).
The argument about running “quality” candidates doesn’t hold water because it’s not true for Democrats. Democratic voters will vote for anyone — even a certifiable tree stump — who has a “D” next to his name. The Pennsylvania Senate race was never about who was the best candidate between Oz and Fetterman; it was about how skilled the Democrat Party machine is in driving out the Democratic vote. From outspending Republicans 2 to 1 (outside spenders dropped $30,456,638 on Fetterman and his party, compared to $12,375,383 on Oz and the GOP), to engaging in massive, Democrat-targeted get-out-the-vote efforts, and ballot harvesting and curing (thanks to no-excuse mail-in ballots and a month of early voting), the Democratic Party machine is what wins votes for their candidates, no matter if they’re Jesus Christ or Benito Mussolini.
Could the GOP have worked more on forming a clear message and positive vision for the country that would’ve inspired more voters to come to the polls? Yes. But that still wouldn’t have been enough to push Republicans over the top. The political machine is what matters most in American federal politics in 2022. And Democrats perfected theirs in 2020. Until the GOP invests in similar infrastructure (and outlaws mail-in ballots à la France and rids itself of the “election week” canard), it will keep losing elections, no matter what kinds of candidates it runs.