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Watch for ‘the Moore maneuver’ in 2018 races



President Donald Trump supports Roy Moore for Senate in the special election scheduled for December. From his Twitter feed, you’d never know he stumped for Luther Strange. Trump’s base, for the most part, supported Moore. Now that Moore has won, they will forgive Trump for backing Strange, which soon will be a forgotten event. There was really no way for Trump to lose in this transaction.

Since it worked, watch for Trump to attempt to replicate this in the 2018 election cycle. Not that it’s going to work all the time. Moore was a very well known figure in Alabama politics, and Strange was a dog with a lot of fleas. But Trump’s man (Moore) will get the Senate seat, and Trump can’t be accused of not trying to support Mitch McConnell’s man. But Trump’s base saw the wink and the nod–whether they were there or not is a matter for debate.

One race where you might see the “Moore maneuver” used is the high-profile campaign of Speaker Paul Ryan versus upstart outsider Paul Nehlen. Nehlen is touted by Breitbart; their headline announced Nehlen’s 2017 campaign by referring to “anti-Trump Ryan.” The “Moore maneuver” will put Steve Bannon on Nehlen’s side, whipping up Trump’s base in Wisconsin, while the candidate himself appeals to liberty and small government. That leaves Trump free to support Speaker Ryan, whom he has criticized sharply in the past, and as the GOP nominee withheld his endorsement for a time (as did Ryan for Trump). Trump also flirted heavily with Nehlen in the 2016 race.

Decorum demands that the sitting president of the same party generally support the GOP leadership in Congress for election, but the “Moore maneuver” gives Trump much more flexibility to support outsider candidates. In a rapidly changing Congressional landscape, with Sen. Bob Corker’s retirement, Reps. Lynn Jenkins, Steve Pearce, Dave Trott, Raúl Labrador, Diane Black and Evan Jenkins either seeking higher office or retiring, there is no shortage of “open” GOP primary races where Trump’s candidate can fill a void.

Now that the strategy of having Bannon as the outside promoter, leaving Trump free to support a more establishment candidate is proven to work (although in Alabama, it seemed to be a slam-dunk for Moore no matter what), expect that Trump will use it again to grow and consolidate his Congressional base.

Roy Moore’s Win is Mitch McConnell’s (Not Donald Trump’s) Loss | Erick Erickson, The Resurgent Washington media loves Mitch McConnell as a creature of the establishment and hates Donald Trump with a burning passion. So the Washington media has a vested interest in savaging Donald Trump for Luther Strange’s loss, while protecting Mitch McConnell.

McConnell poured money into the race for Strange and even blessed Luther Strange deciding at the last minute to start campaigning against Mitch McConnell. Moore made running against McConnell the theme of his campaign.

The Recent Rush Of GOP Retirements Is Good For Democrats | Nathaniel Rakich, FiveThirtyEight two of the departing Republicans occupy Democratic-leaning seats, and the same number of departing Democrats occupy Republican-leaning seats. The fact that there are simply more Republicans than Democrats in Congress overall looked like a better explanation for the Republican-heavy roster of retirees so far — at least until this month, when three successive swing-seat Republicans (Dave Reichert, Charlie Dent and Trott) have called it quits.


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