Chuck DeVore is a solid conservative, very well-qualified to be senator or to hold other important offices or positions, but he doesn’t seem to have a prayer of both overtaking Carly Fiorina and defeating Tom Campbell in the June 8 Republican senate primary.  He should drop out and, following Sarah Palin’s lead, endorse Fiorina for the good of the conservative movement, the state, and the nation.

I’m not going to attempt to compare Fiorina to DeVore:  That would have been a more worthwhile undertaking if Campbell, supposedly at the behest of gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman, hadn’t switched to the senate race at the beginning of the year.  The real comparison should be between any-conservative and Campbell, who, in addition to being just the kind of bland establishment politician that Tea Party conservatives were invented to bring down, has an extremely dubious history of support for radical Islamist and anti-Israeli groups, ideologues, and activists that may give Barbara Boxer an opening she doesn’t deserve, and that in any event many conservatives will find difficult to forgive and forget.

California conservatives, who, to say the least, used to be a major positive factor in state and national politics, have a reputation gained since after Ronald Reagan’s time, and especially since the ’90s, of preferring ideological purity and self-defeating gestures over success and influence.  Chuck DeVore has a chance to show that they’re now capable of mature calculation and team play. The chance of running against and defeating Barbara Boxer with a candidate pursuing an authentically conservative agenda is too important to sacrifice to anyone’s personal feelings or ambitions, or understandable desire to prove to himself and his dedicated supporters that he’s a fighter to the end.

Currently, Campbell appears to have a solid but not insurmountable plurality lead over Fiorina, with DeVore’s  third-place vote more than making up the potential difference.  That’s been the pattern in all or almost all polls since Cambell’s entry into the race.  Often, the #3 candidacy in a struggle like this one collapses, as voters decide not to waste their votes.  If that happens, there’s not a bad chance that DeVore and his ardent supporters will get the worst outcome:  An embarrassing showing just strong enough to hand the race to the candidate with whom they have the least in common, while leaving division and recrimination behind among conservatives, reinforcing the perception that they’re too self-destructive to matter, at just the time that the state and the country need them.

Unless DeVore and his supporters can make a convincing case – based on real world numbers, including campaign cash on hand and credible polling – that he can win the primary, he should drop out, the sooner the better, offering an unqualified endorsement of Carly Fiorina, and looking forward to a bright future in state and national politics as a respected and significant player in a grown-up conservative movement – coming back, on the rise, unified, and ready to make a real difference in the Golden State  and beyond.

cross-posted at Zombie Contentions

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