One of Karl Rove’s top allies revealed that the GOP establishment is pouring millions into the Alabama Senate runoff against conservative grassroots candidate Judge Roy Moore and trying to co-opt President Donald Trump to protect other establishment candidates from potential grassroots challengers.
Steven Law, the Rove ally who runs a group aligned with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) that has reportedly spent at least $10 million on the race for D.C. establishment Senator Luther Strange, told the New York Times that if Strange wins on Tuesday, then “Trump becomes the validator of what the outsider, conservative perspective is.”
While campaigning for Moore last week in Alabama, former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin said the D.C. Swamp is trying to “hijack” the Trump presidency, and Law’s comments reveal that the establishment desperately wants Trump to protect other establishment candidates who have never understood the economic nationalist agenda that got Trump elected and have shown nothing but disdain for the working-class voters who voted for Trump.
The Times is the latest outlet to report that if Moore wins on Tuesday, “Republican leaders fear” that it “could embolden more lawmakers to defy the party leadership and encourage other insurgents to challenge Republican incumbents, no matter Mr. Trump’s preference.” The Times notes that if Strange loses, “it would sow fresh doubts about Mr. Trump’s influence and create new headaches for party leaders. Other establishment-aligned candidates may find that the president is unable to inoculate them from populist challengers.”
Palin said at Moore’s rally that if Moore wins on Tuesday, he will inspire other grassroots candidates to “take on their own Swamp creatures” in their own states. Palin campaigned for Moore with former White House adviser Sebastian Gorka. And former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon will campaign for Moore on Monday evening with Duck Dynasty’s Phil Robertson.
Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) told the Times that “if Roy Moore wins, Bannon and all the other of those people will pop out of the woodwork everywhere.”
Law, who has been a Chamber of Commerce official, partnered with Rove to run the establishment-aligned American Crossroads group. Rove and Law’s groups raised nearly $325 million during the 2012 election cycle with nothing to show for it. And donations to their groups dried up, reportedly decreasing by 98 percent, after Rove essentially declared war on the grassroots Tea Party movement after the 2012 elections.
And that is why the stakes are huge for the D.C. establishment and the groups aligned with them. The Chamber of Commerce’s Scott Reed told the Times if Strange wins, “it would remind Bannon who’s in charge, and I think give the president and the governing wing of the party momentum.”
“That’s why we’re going all in to shut it down now,” he said.
But Trump revealed during his rally for Strange how unsure he is of his influence to sway his voters to vote for a D.C. “swamp creature.” Trump, who never ever admits he has made a mistake, told an Alabama audience that he just may have done so in supporting Strange.
Many Alabamians who came to the rally because they support Trump revealed to reporters that they would be voting for Moore in Tuesday’s runoff, and Trump seemed to understand that dynamic.
“I might have made a mistake and I’ll be honest, I might have made a mistake,” Trump grumbled on Friday evening about his endorsement.
Hours before Trump rallied in Alabama, his Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson released a statement supporting Moore. And Palin reminded Alabamians last week that voters needed to send Moore to Washington to “send Trump someone who has our back — not Mitch McConnell’s.”
“A vote for Judge Moore isn’t a vote against the president,” Palin said. “It’s a vote for the people’s agenda that elected the president.”
She added, “The Swamp can’t win here. This is our red line. Just you watch.”