U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn’s path to replacing the retiring Sen. Bob Corker may prove more difficult than she first assumed. Besides former Gov. Phil Bredesen, the de facto Democratic nominee, another strong candidate could stand in her way.
It’s Sen. Corker, himself.
CNN first reported the news over the weekend: in spite of a previously long-standing beef with the president, Corker may try for another six-year term in order to better protect the Senate’s Republican majority.
As an incumbent, a moderate Republican and a seemingly born-again Trump supporter, it would be reasonable to come to the conclusion Corker stands a better chance of defeating Bredesen than Blackburn does.
However, Blackburn doesn’t quite see it that way. Her campaign recently said as much to the Washington Post:
“Anyone who thinks Marsha Blackburn can’t win a general election is just a plain sexist pig. She’s the best fundraiser in the country and is beating Phil Bredesen in several polls. We aren’t worried about these ego-driven, tired old men. Marsha has spent her whole life fighting people who told her she wasn’t good enough, and she will do it again.”
First off, who thinks Marsha Blackburn can’t win a general election? She’s done it eight times alone as a U.S. representative (albeit against generally weak candidates). If she couldn’t win, I wouldn’t actively worry about how terrible she is and openly beg for a strong Democrat to run against her. Of course, when I wrote those articles, it was still a foregone conclusion she was the clear frontrunner to win her party’s nomination. With Corker possibly back in the picture, that is no longer the case.
While it’s your job to say things that make your candidate look good, Blackburn’s spokesperson missed the mark on a few statements.
Objectively, she isn’t the best fundraiser in the country. House Speaker Paul Ryan, admittedly a more prominent figure, has out-raised her by about $7 million, according to the Center for Responsible Politics. Democratic candidate Jon Ossoff raised about 10 times as much as Blackburn in his loss to now-Rep. Karen Handel, a Republican from Georgia.
Blackburn might be beating Bredesen in several polls, but her campaign failed to mention how several other polls show Bredesen narrowly ahead. Bredesen is relatively popular for a Democrat, but he’s still a Democrat running in Tennessee. The Republican should be the clear favorite in this race. Blackburn is clearly underperforming.
If Blackburn weren’t worried about “these ego-driven, tired old men,” then she wouldn’t feel the need to rely on cheap buzzwords to score political points. Calling your opponents sexist without actually addressing potential concerns merely publicizes your own insecurity. We’re in the year 2018. Female Republicans have won Senate seats before. Blackburn would become the 18th in American history with a win this November.
It isn’t Blackburn’s gender primarily holding her back — it’s her extreme obsequiousness to her emperor Trump. “Make the Republican majority act like a majority,” she says, but the party already has been. It is up to senators to come up with their own opinions instead of just being the president’s lapdogs.
Many conservatives may be disillusioned with the current state of our government and may want to vote for a Republican who has proven he or she is willing to stand up for true conservative values, as opposed to Trump’s destructive, and starkly anti-conservative, populism. Blackburn leaves them wanting.
In my view, it’s also a bit weak for Blackburn to cry sexism while supporting the administration of a comically misogynistic president. Blackburn might see herself as a feminist figure, a warrior battling the routine subjugation of an entire half of the population, but she’s mistaken.
She’s not an innocent victim. She’s an enabler — and part of the problem. ■