Monday, January 23, 2023
What do these stories [about serial fabulist George Santos and Solomon Pena, with 19 felony convictions and nearly seven years in the pen] have in common? They suggest a Republican Party that simply doesn't vet candidates for office anymore. Even cursory background checks or interviews would have revealed some problems with these candidates, but today's GOP doesn't seem to care. What happened?
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Republicans broadly predicted a Trump candidacy would be poison to the whole party ticket, but then it wasn't. For many of them, the lesson was, if Trump could take the White House, any electability analysis was out the window. If Trump could win after everything he said and did in 2016, maybe others could too. And indeed, the party has been far more tolerant of candidates such as Lauren Boebert, Marjorie Taylor Greene, Matt Gaetz and others, who until recently would have been considered the unpalatable fringe.
A second factor is the influence of conservative media such as Fox News, which are a dominant source of political information for Republican primary voters. These outlets generally don't portray extremist Republican candidates as such; instead, they portray them as unfair victims of the "mainstream media" and turn their accusations and attacks on progressive Democrats. It's hard to punish a problematic candidate inside an echo chamber.
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