The Republican Establishment is launching a weak attack on Steve Bannon, who is organizing an economic nationalist uprising against Establishment incumbents in the 2018 primaries.
Bannon, who led strategy in President Trump’s White House before positioning himself as a “street fighter” on the outside for populist nationalism, was widely credited for helping lift Roy Moore over Luther Strange in the final weeks of the Alabama Senate primary campaign. Big League Politics called our shot, publishing a Gravis poll days before the election showing Moore in the lead by eight points. He ended up winning by nine.
2018 will be an important bellwether test for populist nationalism going forward. Moore’s win was an optimistic sign. Even though Trump endorsed Strange, he admitted shortly before the election that he might have made a mistake and that he barely knows Strange. This became a Courageous Conservatives ad in the final days.
The GOPe’s Senate Leadership Fund circulated a post-mortem on the Strange defeat, making it clear that they still (at least for appearances’ sake) underestimate Steve Bannon.
Underestimating Steve Bannon is exactly what populist nationalists should want the Establishment to be doing. Bannon is seen as the gatekeeper of Trump’s campaign promises, and he remains committed to White House objectives like making Facebook and Google conform to public-utility regulations and to better negotiating the disastrous trade and debt situation with China.
“The massive resources that independent groups can deploy in races tend to obscure the paramount importance of candidate quality,” snarked the defeated Establishmentarians in their memo.
The Fund’s rationalization does nothing to address the fact that Luther Strange enjoyed vast financial resources courtesy of outside spending. Breitbart News pegged the spending on Strange’s behalf at between $15 million and $30 million, with $30 million being the number employed by the Moore campaign.
Also, the Senate Leadership Fund itself reportedly dropped a cool $9 million for Strange, and the National Rifle Association reportedly kicked in seven figures for the lanky interim senator.
Failed Marco Rubio presidential campaign strategist Alex Conant gave a quote to The Hill trying to dress down Bannon, whose Breitbart News team ran circles around Conant throughout President Trump’s winning primary campaign.
“Although the final tally on spending on this election by the candidates’ campaigns and outside groups is not yet in, estimates of expenditures on Strange’s behalf have the number at between $15 million and $30 million from the beginning of the campaign through yesterday.
Former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore defeated Sen. Luther Strange (R-AL) by a vote total of 262,204 to 218,066.
IT’S REAL: Four New Jersey Democrats Charged With Election Fraud in Mail-In Ballot Scheme
They’re all Democrats.
Four men, two of whom are Democratic city council members, have been charged with running a voter fraud operation in the town of Paterson, New Jersey.
New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal announced charges of mail-in voting fraud, election fraud, and illegal possession of mail-in ballots against Michael Jackson, Alex Mendez, Shelim Khalique, and Abu Rayzen.
Jackson is an active city councilman, while Mendez is a councilman-elect. Khalique is the brother of another Paterson city councilman, and Rayzen is a campaign operative for Khalique’s brother, Shahin Khalique.
The charges allege that Jackson took it upon himself to pick up completed mail-in ballots from voters in the city and delivered them to the Passaic County Board of Elections. Jackson failed to disclose to the board of elections that he delivered ballots for that he’s a city council member, and in one case, a ballot that he picked up that was unsealed was delivered to the election authorities sealed and completed.
Mendez is also accused of the same form of dishonest ballot harvesting, declining to reveal that he was a candidate for office when dropping off mail-in ballots. He’s also charged with falsifying and tampering with records.
Although they’re rarely enforced, New Jersey laws criminalizing election fraud have strict penalties, and it’s possible that the men could face prison sentences of up to ten years if they’re convicted of the second-degree felonies of which they’re charged.
A state investigation into the recent Paterson city election spurred the criminal charges, with AG Grewal revealing that 20% of the ballots filed in the election were fraudulent.
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