The following is an op-ed written by C. Wesley Morgan that was published in The Paducah Sun on June 5, 2019.
McConnell’s plan to beat President Donald Trump in the 2020 GOP Primary
President Trump is popular among conservatives especially in Kentucky at 63% so how does that happen exactly? Mitch McConnell has already declared war against Tea Party Conservatives. As early as 2014, McConnell was rallying the cry against anyone that opposes his brand of Republicanism.
In an article published in The Atlantic March 10th, 2014, “Emperor Mitch McConnell Pledges to Crush the Tea Party Rebellion”, Mitch clearly and without mincing words indicated that he will seek to destroy any opposition to the establishment party rule. “I don’t think they are going to have a single nominee anywhere in the country,”. said McConnell. After all, Mitch McConnell had seen just how effective the Tea Party was when they were organized and hungry.
McConnell seen how handily that the Tea Party champion Dr. Rand Paul had beaten the GOP handpicked candidate in Trey Grayson and why it became his mission to make sure the Tea Party doesn’t get that upper hand on him when it came to his 2014 re-election. On May 20th 2014, The Daily Beast’s Sam Youngman wrote “Mitch McConnell Sends Tea Party a Message: Don’t Get in My Way”. This was about how Mitch had prepared for Matt Bevin’s challenge and why his campaign never really took off where it counted the most.
“It’ll be because the incumbents who were challenged were better prepared and more willing to fight back smartly.” says Billy Piper, a former Chief of Staff of McConnell. Undoubtedly saying that incumbents will always fight first for their position over anyone and everyone rather than standing on conservative principles. Matt Bevin would lose the primary to Mitch McConnell in 2014 and then proceed to run for and win the Governor’s seat in the 2015 election.
As we continue down the line of Kentucky history since Mitch’s last election win, we see a series of events unfolding that could make one question and perhaps even scratch their heads as to why Governor Bevin would do the things he has done to perhaps play an unwitting part in dividing the GOP for perhaps decades to come. In 2015, Matt Bevin would become Governor of the State of Kentucky. However, he had to first get past the GOP Primary which was hotly contested. He would win that primary by only 83 votes. In a state-wide race, that is razor thin. Bevin would go on to beat the likes of Democratic Nominee Jack Conway, who also lost to Rand Paul in the US Senate race in 2010, and Independent candidate Drew Curtis, creator of Fark.com.
There are things that Governor Bevin has done to earn both the praise and ire of conservatives in Kentucky. Governor Bevin has done well with what he knows best which is working with Businesses to work out the best deal to bring businesses to Kentucky. However perhaps his biggest unforced error has been how he reacted to the all too predictable rhetoric from the Teachers Unions on Public Pension Reform. Instead of just staying on message that our Public Pension program is insolvent and in danger of going completely bankrupt, he went on to try to trade personal insults with them in what again is a predictable result of the liberal media only showing him insulting teachers. Who doesn’t love and respect teachers right? This would be the polarizing moment of his term as governor in what otherwise should have been seen as the shining moment of republicans who in January of 2017 took control of both houses of congress in Frankfort and had a republican in the Governor’s Mansion for the first time in 95 years.
Governor Bevin would further see trouble as the GOP House Speaker Jeff Hoover would be exposed for his sexual harassment of a staffer that would result in hush money being paid out. The Establishment GOP in Frankfort however did their best to cover this up and as a result, people like KY 81st District House Rep. Wesley Morgan would see their political careers end abruptly because they refused to participate in putting lipstick on this pig. Governor Bevin would be seen as weak for not coming to the defense of people like Rep. Morgan.
Much in the way that many view President Donald Trump as the top spokesman for the National Republican Party, many views Governor Bevin as the top voice for the Kentucky Republican Party. His term in office will be also tainted by the GOP in Frankfort that overrode a veto to raise taxes on labor and membership fees from veterinarian visits to gym memberships. After all, conservatives are supposed to lower taxes, not raise them.
Fast forward to late 2018. With Governor Bevin at his lowest point and not sure if he would run for re-election, McConnell comes to the rescue with a strings attached endorsement. One of those strings is for Bevin to drop Hampton as his running mate in favor of Dr. Alvarado. Many in the tea party political sphere of the Republican Party viewed this as a betrayal as they believe the only reason that Bevin made it out of the 2015 GOP Primary was because Hampton was his running mate. Why dump the only part of your administration that WAS NOT mired with scandal? After all he was roundly criticized for giving a personal friend of his a very big raise. Lt. Governor Hampton was well respected and would have perhaps considered her own run as Governor if given the proper opportunity. Perhaps Hampton may have been short sighted to see what was really going on not giving herself the chance to declare her own candidacy, but this isn’t about her.
Shortly after declaring Hampton was out and Alvarado was in, another string to the endorsement had to be satisfied. Steve Knipper who was Lt. Governor’s chief of staff would be fired with no reason given. Mitch seen that Knipper came within 2000 votes in 2015 of becoming Secretary of State. This could be seen as a directive from McConnell to Bevin to financially keep Knipper from beating his own hand-picked candidate for Secretary of State in Michael G. Adams. Adams made headlines for failing to pay a Missouri state mandated fee of $410.00 to practice law in Missouri when he represented then Governor Eric Greitens and his campaign over an ethics complaint involving a charity donor list. It should also be noted, according to an article by Rudi Keller of the Columbia Daily Tribune on June 1st 2018, that Adams worked for Senator McConnell and Vice President Pence. Gov. Greitens would resign as a result of this lawsuit. This is who Mitch McConnell has hand-picked to run for Secretary of State in Kentucky. We needed someone that didn’t believe himself to be above the law and involved in a scandal defending someone’s abuse of donor lists. Alison Lundergan Grimes has already made a mockery of the position with her abuses of authority not only concerning election board staffing but she was tweeted in a state vehicle going 100 m.p.h. to the Kentucky Derby. Knipper would lose to Adams in the 2019 GOP Primary.
Then Lt. Governor Hampton would once again see another one of her staff members in Adrienne Southworth terminated without notice. This is when the now infamous “Dark Forces” (Mitch McConnell) tweet from Hampton would surface that the GOP establishment would pounce on accusing her and her supporters of trying to sabotage Governor Bevin’s chances at beating the eventual Democratic Party nominee Andy Beshear. The administration’s silence on why Southworth was terminated only fed fuel to those who thirst for answers. Only when Southworth addressed a Tea Party group in Elizabethtown did the Bevin Administration come forth with what to this day has been unsubstantiated claims that Southworth was misusing her position to try to lobby for her own purposes. The lack of evidence that Southworth used her position to lobby for the release of a convicted rapist has not stopped the establishment from deploying their supporters that run Facebook pages like “Republicans for the GREAT Commonwealth of Kentucky” remove and ban all people that refuse to just sit idly by and let Governor Bevin betray his Lt. Governor. Hampton and her staff had less than a year to go in Frankfort and it just simply didn’t make any sense why his administration would bring this level of division among the GOP voters in Kentucky.
Not unless you looked at the bigger picture. Not unless you understood and accepted that Mitch McConnell ran the GOP in Kentucky. Not unless you understood and accepted Mitch’s disdain for opposition. Just as Mitch McConnell wanted the Tea Party crushed in 2014 so that not only his incumbent friends running for re-election won, but he wanted re-elected as well, he wants to make sure that anyone that represents a threat to his position in the US Senate but his power structure in Kentucky is destroyed as well. What better way to do this than to get the GOP deeply divided and to insist that it’s the true Constitutional Conservatives, the ones supporting Hampton here would be to blame if Governor Bevin is not re-elected. This is the same baseless fear mongering rhetoric he deployed in 2014 against Bevin himself in order to make sure that the GOP establishment took control of the US Senate and he was appointed its majority leader.
Mitch McConnell is so thirsty to rid the GOP of true Constitutional Conservatives that he has recruited State Rep. Kim Mosier to challenge current KY4 US Rep Thomas Massie. A big gift was granted to McConnell when Michigan US Representative Justin Amash declared that he was leaving the Republican Party to be an Independent. This almost assures that seat will be taken either by a pro-establishment Republican, or a liberal Democrat. This comes on the heels of Amash declaring his support for President Trump’s impeachment which itself defies constitutional logic which Amash is usually known for. The witch hunt on President Trump was completely predicated on lies and illegally obtained lies paid for by the campaign of Hillary Clinton. As we all have seen on TV, evidence collected illegally cannot be used against someone in a trial. Impeachment is absolutely a trial and one that should be evidence based.
We should look at some inconvenient predictions now. Considering Governor Bevin’s unforced errors, the scandals in the GOP in Frankfort, his actions against Lt. Governor Hampton, it is likely that Governor Bevin will lose to Andy Bashear. It’s likely to not even be a respectable contest. The moral hit that conservatives have likely taken during Bevin’s tenure and the hit that the establishment GOP voters who blindly support McConnell will likely take as a result of Bevin’s upcoming defeat will not only discourage republicans from showing up to the polls in future elections, but keep the GOP fighting among themselves throughout Andy’s first term in office.
If Mitch McConnell is successful in installing the likes of Michael Adams as the Secretary of State, if he is successful in getting Governor Bevin beat with his strings attached endorsement, if he is successful in getting re-elected in 2020, if he is successful with installing Kim Mosier in Thomas Massie’s place, he will have destroyed the power amassed by the Republican Party of Kentucky for perhaps decades to come. It will be like the Tea Party never happened, which is precisely what he wants. You can bet that his closest RINO allies in the US Senate have before, and will continue to, deploy these tactics to rid the government of true constitutional conservatives. This is how Mitch McConnell plans to attempt to make sure that President Donald Trump is a one term President.