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Normal political chicanery? Or shoot-yourself-in-the-foot dumbassery?
August 2, 2022
Dems Funding MAGA Republicans | Not My Party With Tim Miller

[Editor’s note: Watch Not My Party every week on Snapchat.]

Tim Miller: Guess who’s behind the ads promoting the most insane MAGA Republicans? The Democrats?

Homer Simpson: What? That can’t be right.

Miller: This is “Not My Party,” brought to you by The Bulwark. We’re a few months out from the midterms and the polls aren’t looking great for the Dems.

Richard Tyler (Macaulay Culkin in The Pagemaster): Definitely not good at all.

Miller: People are pissed about inflation and are planning to punish the party in power.

Aleister Crowley (Jonjo O’Neill on Pennyworth): Precisely.

Miller: But there’s one thing working in Democrats’ favor: A lot of the Republican candidates out there are batsh** crazy. And that isn’t just some overheated rhetoric. These guys are Clown Posse-level insane in the membrane.

Fred Cranepool (The Simpsons): And also evil.

Miller: Here’s just a little taste.

Kari Lake: And I will not allow the people who ordered this corrupt election to get away with it.

Herschel Walker: Grabbed my gun, I said, “I will kill him.” . . . And I can still remember the voices. “Herschel, people are disrespecting you all the time.”

Doug Mastriano: My body, my choice is ridiculous nonsense.

Dennis Owens: And would you support abortion exceptions for rape, incest, or the life of the mother?

Mastriano: I don’t give a way for exceptions either.

Bob Belcher (Bob’s Burgers): That was disturbing.

Miller: Election thieves. Conspiracists. Banning abortion at the moment of conception for teenagers who are raped. A dude hallucinating voices in his head and telling him to murder his critics. And these aren’t a few randoms. They’re the leading candidates in key races in important states like Georgia, Michigan, Arizona, and Pennsylvania

Fleabag (Phoebe Waller-Bridge in Fleabag): Not ideal.

Miller: So, democratic strategists in Washington got a bright idea. They started to spend millions in Republican primaries to help the crazy candidates beat the kinda-boring normies because they’re betting that will give them a better chance of winning in the general election.

Sterling Archer (Archer): What could possibly go wrong?

Miller: To do so, they’re running ads like these, that pretend to be attacks, but actually are pumping up the extremists.

Voiceover (ad narrator): This is Republican State Senator Doug Mastriano. He wants to outlaw abortion. He wants to end vote by mail. If Mastriano wins, it’s a win for what Donald Trump stands for.

Glenn Sturgis (Mark McKinney on Superstore): These are all my favorite things.

Miller: So the obvious question: Is this smart politics or dangerous, dirty tricks?

Skyler White (Anna Gunn on Breaking Bad): I’m afraid to know.

Miller: The answer isn’t as obvious as it might seem. Buckle up because there are levels to this strategy. From this perspective, politics is a competition and anything that helps your side win that’s within the rules is at some level fair game. And the ads they’re running aren’t lies. They’re literally just explaining how extreme the MAGA weirdos are and that’s making many Republicans want to vote for them. MAGA voters are demanding the craziest SOB in the race. Whose fault is that really?

Ian Lightfood (Onward): He’s terrible.

Miller: And now let’s travel up and explore the other perspective. The karma of running these ads is bad. Here’s one example. Democrats are using this strategy to try to take out Peter Meijer. One of the ten brave House Republicans who voted to impeach Donald Trump.

Elizabeth, the Queen Mother (Marion Bailey on The Crown): Ooh, I like those.

Miller: This is creating another incentive for Republicans to toe the Trump line and not do the right thing. Aren’t some things more important than winning one campaign?

Bethany Sloane (Linda Fiorentino in Dogma): Apparently not.

Miller: Plus, in some cases, the people they’re helping are really f***** dangerous. Doug Mastriano, the Republican nominee for governor in Pennsylvania, was literally Trump’s point man for the coup plot in 2020. If he becomes governor, he’ll have an influential perch to try to help Trump steal the 2024 election. This isn’t just like one random city councilman. So Democrats are really playing with live bullets here.

Steve Smith (American Dad): This seems really dangerous.

Miller: So where do I personally land? When the stakes are low, say in a blue-state race like Illinois or Maryland, where the Dem is probably gonna win anyway, trying to pick your opponent by running ads that are truthful about where they stand, seems like some acceptable political trickery.

Ben Chang (Ken Jeong on Community): I’ll allow it.

Miller: But when the stakes are high—when the opponent you are promoting wants to literally end our democracy and might be in a position to help do so—that’s a different animal altogether. Sometimes people in public service have to put country over party.

Lois Griffin (Family Guy): Is that a thing?

Miller: It’s something Democrats and us Never Trumpers have been asking Republicans to do for quite a while now. And just because they have failed in many cases to rise to that challenge, doesn’t make it okay for Democrats to sink to their level and start putting their own petty politics over the country, too.

Apu Nahasapeemapetilon (The Simpsons): Get your head in the game.

Miller: We’ll see you next week for more “Not My Party.”

Tim Miller

Tim Miller is The Bulwark’s writer-at-large and the author of the best-selling book Why We Did It: A Travelogue from the Republican Road to Hell. He was previously political director for Republican Voters Against Trump and communications director for Jeb Bush 2016.