The Mason-Dixon poll that’s now come out has put a damper on some political ambitions. Scott McKay explained as much yesterday in his breakdown of the poll, but the national media has picked up on it as well. Why? Because David Duke has now qualified for the next Senate debate. Much to our collective shame.
However, the next words you are about to read are not some analysis of the race and where it can go from here. It’s also not an endorsement of anyone. Rather, it’s a plea for some folks to realize that it’s time to pack up and pick a different horse to back.
Back in 2013, I wasn’t yet a Front Page contributor at RedState, but I backed the site and wrote several pieces in favor of Rob Maness for Senate. The site as a whole had endorsed Maness, because he was (and to this day I still believe he was) the most conservative candidate in the race. I thought he was more of the conservative firebrand type the Senate needed, and I was glad to endorse him and back him.
Throughout that race, and a few times afterward, I kept in touch with Maness and spoke with him about the state of the country and where we were headed. Coming back from the RedState Gathering in Atlanta, Maness and I were on the same flight, and we spoke at the New Orleans airport about the Trump candidacy (Erick Erickson had infamously un-invited Trump to the Gathering after his remarks about Megyn Kelly).
I continued to support Maness into this year’s Senate race, and hoped to see him succeed. However, his campaign has not gained any traction, and the latest poll has him behind Duke. Duke qualified for the debate. Maness did not.
As much as I like Maness, it is time for him to realize that there is no path to victory.
I am sure his internals tell a different story than the public polls. I am sure he believes that there is a chance. However, this poll is the second poll to show he’s hovering around 3% (the Southern Media Opinion Research poll from a month ago had him at roughly the same percentage). In other words, he hasn’t been able to move the needle.
We can blame this on a couple of things. The first is that he simply does not get the same chunk of support he did last time when the field has roughly one hundred more candidates. He got a solid chunk of support from more conservative Republicans, but this time those votes are divided not just by conservative and moderate Republicans, but by Republicans who like their Congressmen and are more apt to support them.
The second thing we can blame this on is a lack of positive coverage. We can blame whoever we want for this, but the fact of the matter is when the biggest stories about your campaign are who you are filing complaints against, then voters aren’t going to get a hopeful message about your campaign.
If I were advising Maness, I would suggest he back out and find someone to back. It doesn’t really matter who (exception: DON’T ENDORSE DAVID DUKE), because what you’re doing is showing you can play ball. A conservative victory is about playing a longer game than just running until you win. Maness can do good, conservative work by finding someone to work alongside.
Now is not the time to try to tear others down to build yourself up. Now is the time for trying to find some inter-party unity. After all, if we’re honest to ourselves, there isn’t much of that in the GOP’s future as it is.