Blake Masters’ Defeat Should End the GOP’s Fealty to Trump and the Big Lie
Republican challenger Blake Masters, a darling of the new right who said “libertarianism doesn’t work” and vowed to wield government power in all sorts of illiberal ways, will not be the next U.S. senator from Arizona. While the votes are still being counted, incumbent Democrat Mark Kelly has an insurmountable lead, according to Cook Political Report.
Masters’ defeat caps off a humiliating election week for the GOP, which is projected to capture the House of Representatives by many fewer seats than conservatives expected; Republicans may not take the Senate at all. The GOP needs to win Nevada—which may or may not happen—and the runoff in Georgia, a tall order.
The red wave made landfall in Florida; everywhere else, it was more like a trickle.
As Republicans process what went wrong and try to understand precisely how they could have fared this badly against a deeply unpopular president and a horrible economy, they should consider that Democrats’ pitch to voters—Trump and Trumpist candidates are existential threats to democracy—may have actually worked. Republican candidates who pledged fealty to Trump and made his backward-looking lies about a stolen election a centerpiece of their own campaigns badly underperformed on Election Night.
No one better encapsulates this trend than Masters, who famously released a campaign ad last year in which his opening pitch to voters was: “I think Trump won in 2020.”
Blake Masters, a Republican US Senate candidate from Arizona, released a campaign ad saying Donald Trump won the 2020 election.
This is their new litmus test. pic.twitter.com/NGm0guMJtf
— PatriotTakes (@patriottakes) November 24, 2021
Trump personally pressed Masters to lean into election fraud claims—telling him “you’ve got to go stronger on that one thing”—and Masters dutifully obeyed. This pitch was not persuasive to voters. (Kari Lake, the Republican candidate in the Arizona gubernatorial race who
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