Pro-impeachment Republican: Why are Democrats bankrolling my MAGA primary opponent?

AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

A surprising op-ed from Rep. Peter Meijer, the lone freshman among the 10 Republicans who voted to impeach Trump last year. The surprising part isn’t that he’s pissed off at Democrats for funding his Trump-backed challenger, John Gibbs. He should be. It’s revolting. As even some Democrats acknowledge:

The surprising part is that Meijer has been trying to avoid the topic of impeachment, knowing that it does him no favors with Republican voters in his district who’ll go to the polls tomorrow to decide between him and Gibbs. Yet here he is raising the subject in a post at Bari Weiss’s Common Sense site on the eve of the election.

I wonder if there’s a strategic element to that or if Meijer figures he has nothing to lose because his polling shows he’s headed for defeat. I’m guessing it’s strategic: By publicizing the fact that Gibbs, not him, is the Democrats’ candidate of choice, he might be able to win over some undecided Republicans. If the libs would rather face the MAGA candidate in the general election then the proper way to own them is to renominate Meijer, right?

Besides, if he does end up losing, there’ll be plenty of time to post columns like this about the scumbag Democratic cynics who bankrolled Gibbs. And I do mean bankrolled: The most interesting part of Meijer’s essay is when he explains just how much cash they’ve spent on his opponent. This wasn’t a token $1,000 donation from the DNC. They plowed cash into ads on behalf of Trump’s candidate, singlehandedly making him financially competitive with Meijer.

Democrats like [DCCC chief Sean Patrick] Maloney argued that Republicans who looked the other way during the Trump era put party over country. But they know of what they speak: In one of many such naked political gambits aimed at elevating the weaker Republican candidate ahead of the November midterm elections, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) launched a $435,000 ad buy to promote the election-denying Gibbs in the final days leading up to our primary.

This is not an insignificant amount of money for the Gibbs campaign, nor is it an insignificant act by Democrats. The DCCC’s ad buy was more than Gibbs raised over the entire duration of his campaign. It was also nearly 100x the support Donald Trump himself offered to Gibbs (a single $5,000 contribution from the Save America Super PAC). In other words, the Democrats are not merely attempting to boost a candidate over the finish line: They are subsidizing his entire campaign.

That meager donation from Trump’s PAC looks like sound business sense to me. Why should Trump pony up to help his candidates win when Democrats will do it for him?

How much of the “country first” blather from Democrats is just posturing, Meijer wonders? A vivid example:

Arizona Rep. Ruben Gallego, a Democrat and a fellow Iraq War veteran, took a heroic stand in the House chamber on January 6. In an April interview with Politico, Gallego recounted removing his jacket in case he had to fight his way out of the chamber, that he “would have killed all those motherf***ers to save this democracy. Like, I survived a war. Whatever it took, I was going to survive.” Yet last week, Gallego defended his DCCC dollars going to a staunch supporter of ‘those motherf***ers,’ tweeting, “You help a far right member of Congress who will vote for McCarthy to be leader or ‘moderate’ Republican to vote for McCarthy to be leader. Politics ain’t beanbag.” Indeed politics ain’t, and as Gallego gears up to primary Senator Kyrsten Sinema in 2024, it’s clear he will rationalize what is needed to survive in Democrats’ good graces.

The new strange bedfellows in American politics: Democrats and insurrectionist motherf***ers. To their eternal disgrace, even some Democratic members of the January 6 committee are okay with the DCCC funding “stop the steal” candidates in the GOP primaries. “The DCCC is playing with fire. It undercuts the great work of the Jan. 6 committee and makes us look like hypocrites,” one House Dem told Axios. Indeed it does.

Want to know the punchline? Because supporting Trump’s impeachment is high treason among Republican voters, Meijer probably would have lost tomorrow even if Dems hadn’t spent a dime. Trump’s endorsement of Gibbs likely would have been enough. As is is, if Gibbs wins now — and especially if he wins narrowly — the DCCC will get torn to shreds by the commentariat for weighing in on the side of right-wing election deniers. That’s another motive for Meijer in writing this op-ed, I assume. He’s going to make their cynicism as painful as possible for them by rubbing their faces in it, as well he should.

His campaign is still holding out hope for victory. “Our data is telling us it’s going to be tight,” one consultant told the Dispatch. “A lot of the House impeachers … start as the underdogs in these primaries, just because of where the base voter is.” Ironically, Meijer may end up getting a bit of help from Democrats indirectly: Following redistricting earlier this year, his House district moved from R+9 to D+3. In an R+9 district, Republican voters might feel comfortable nominating a kook in the belief that the seat will stay red regardless. In a D+3 district, they have to play their strongest hand. The bluer hue of MI-03 may tip some GOP undecideds into Meijer’s camp for strategic reasons.

I’ll leave you with sane Democrat Ritchie Torres exposing his own party’s hypocrisy in opposing Meijer.