Opinion: Response: ‘Elect McDaniel, oppose establishment’

Posted on Oct 18 2017 - 5:40pm by Nick Lewis

This guest column is in response to Will Hall’s column “Elect McDaniel, oppose establishment” published Oct. 16.

While the night of Nov. 8 was a great rejection of the American establishment and an acceptance of waves of populism, it was also a day that the people who should have been crying were rejoicing.

President Trump loyalists are quick to blame Congress’ inaction as the result of his failed agenda, but this is an elementary argument. If Clinton had won and Congress wasn’t passing anything, the story would be that it was Clinton’s fault for pushing a liberal agenda Congress can’t pass.

But, of course, the Trump loyalists simply expect conservatives from across the spectrum to bend their knees to his factually baseless agenda. Not only is this expectation ridiculous, but it is hypocritical to the author’s later point that Mississippi needs a senator who will better represent what he believes to be Mississippi’s interests.

This is all while ignoring the fact that Republican senators voting against Trump’s proposals tend to be looking out for their states’ interests. Point being, there was no “betrayal” by the Republican party, at least using the same logic the author uses.

The author also suggested that history will not remember the Trump administration’s first year for the failed legislative achievements or Twitter feuds but rather for Steve Bannon’s “crusade” to destroy the Republican establishment.

Excuse me for not believing the Trump administration will be defined by what an ex-administration official is attempting to do. I don’t think this assertion would hold much legitimacy with any person, yet alone someone such as a presidential historian.

The author falsely argues that “Bannon’s crusade found its first victory in the Alabama Senate race.” This is a misleading and false statement, seeing as it was a party primary win rather than the Senate race win.

Besides the fallacy of the statement, the author thinks Roy Moore’s victory is an early sign of success for Bannon’s “crusade.” I would suggest otherwise and point him to the national polls regarding the president’s approval rating, particularly how they differ regionally. The president faces record low approval ratings nationwide but fares better in the Southeast.

That being said, a Moore win and a potential McDaniel win could be expected in states like Alabama and Mississippi. Moore’s victory will not reflect a greater trend in national Senate elections in 2018.

One way this will prove true is when senators outside the Southeast who voted against Trump’s proposals will get re-elected in their home states. If anyone disagrees, I will be willing to listen to your argument after the 2018 cycle.

The tone of the article I am replying to is conspiratorial, at best. It speaks of these mysterious “special interests” as some untouchable group that controls Washington by strings, rather than giving specific examples. It also fails to make the logical concession that these groups are made up of humans just as political bodies are and that the humans who make up these interest groups may just have policy preferences similar to those of politicians.

The test the author suggests for electing new politicians isn’t merit-based. The test is to vote for someone only if he will enrage “opinion columnists at The New York Times” and pledge not to fall in line with party leadership. Surprisingly, the latter concept is a stranger argument than the former. In the author’s ideal world of a Senate filled with Moores and McDaniels, they would become the party’s next leaders.

In turn, these new party leaders would become the new establishment, the concept the author and many voters hate. This clear contradiction nullifies his broad anti-establishment argument, especially since it isn’t based on substantive grounds. The author of the article mentions no policy preferences that make McDaniel better than Sen. Wicker.

Lastly, the author suggests that it is a problem that Wicker has appeared on CNN with Sen. Cory Booker to advocate for the removal of the state flag of Mississippi. The author seems to sarcastically call Booker and Wicker “friends,” as if this is taboo. This rhetoric is the same dangerous kind that divides our country.

Despite what some reading this article might think, I have been a Republican for as long as I can remember. While I have distanced myself from the party in recent years, I was never shy about reaching out to those who have different policy preferences than I do. It spurs debate and keeps ideas in check, often allowing people to have a better-developed view in the end.

Good for Wicker for appearing with a Democratic colleague on something they have similar ground on. For some of us, it is refreshing to see friendliness in politics. But I am probably what the author considers to be an establishment Republican and am just as evil as the author makes establishment people out to be.

Nick Lewis is a senior political science major from Huron, Ohio.