If moderate Republicans want to do something useful, they should stop spending all of their time trashing their politically popular national rivals and instead try to capture the Senate.
Former New Jersey governor Chris Christie, former Maryland governor Larry Hogan, and New Hampshire governor Chris Sununu are known mostly for going on television to lament how upset they are with the rise of conservative populism in the Republican Party.
All three men claim their hatred of former President Donald Trump and his political success is motivated by their love of the country and their desire to see their brand of moderate Republicanism return to dominance. If that’s true, and it’s not that they seek the money and fame that comes with supporting the regime’s reflexive anti-Trumpism, they should set their eyes on political races they could win and where they could actually help the Republican Party.
Christie currently is struggling to break out of low single digits in the Republican presidential primary. Hogan left office earlier this year and keeps saying, over and over, that he’s thinking about running for president as well, just not in the Republican primary. Sununu says he’s not running for president, only trying to keep Trump from winning.
The men claim to be appalled by the conservative populist policies and candidates Republicans have embraced over the last eight years. They claim their brand of moderate Republican politics is exceedingly popular. When they go on talk shows, they lament with their left-wing interlocutors over the way the Republican Party has moved away from support for big corporations, porous borders, and endless wars.
And none of the men have a snowball’s chance in Hades of winning the Republican primary or the presidency.
However, these men absolutely could win Senate races! Had Sununu run in 2022, he likely would have defeated Democrat Maggie Hassan, and the Senate would be in Republican control. As for next year’s races, there are openings. New Jersey’s Democrat Sen. Bob Menendez, who is up for re-election next year, was indicted on Friday for his alleged role in his family’s influence-peddling operation. He probably won’t even win his party’s nomination for the 2024 race.
Christie says he cares for the country, wants to be a leader, and is worried about the direction of the GOP. OK. So he should prove it by running for an office he could actually win.
When Christie ran for re-election as governor in 2013, he won with 60 percent of the vote. Politico finds him so non-threatening that they gushed he’s even more popular with Democrats now than before. Low bar and all that, but if it’s true, it should be particularly easy to win statewide office again!
Hogan’s main achievement as the Republican leader of Maryland was to prevent whatever would have happened under Democrat leadership. He could fulfill that same role again if he chose to run for the Senate.
Hogan claims his brand of Republican politics is extremely popular. That may not be true outside of Maryland, but he can legitimately point to his two elections in the overwhelmingly Democrat state. Democrat Ben Cardin is retiring. It’s an open seat, making it particularly winnable!
Christie and Hogan’s brand of Republican politics might be what it takes to flip their state’s Senate seats to the Republican Party. At the very least, the two men would make the race competitive and force Democrats to spend real money to defend those seats.
Moderate Republican Charlie Baker, another anti-Trumpist politician, could try to unseat Elizabeth Warren in Massachusetts. All of these men could fight for what they claim to believe in rather than be a sideshow serving corporate media.
If they want to reclaim the Republican Party, what better way than to get into the Senate to take on J.D. Vance of Ohio, Tommy Tuberville of Alabama, Josh Hawley of Missouri, and other favorites of Republican voters?