CNN’s John Avlon laid into Democrats on Tuesday, challenging the party’s apparent strategy of backing far-right candidates in Republican primaries — particularly when their opponents were not fans of former President Donald Trump — in the hopes that they will be more easily defeated by Democrats in November’s general election.
Avlon joined the hosts of “New Day” and he noted that Democrats had been responsible for a number of major ad purchases targeting anti-Trump candidates in recent weeks, apparently hoping that they could help prop those candidates up through their primaries. Then, when independent voters went to the polls in November, the hope was that they would see a choice between a Democrat and a far-right Republican and opt for the former.
"It's incredibly cynical and hypocritical," CNN's @JohnAvlon blasts Democrats' strategy of boosting far-right Republicans in primaries in the hopes they'll be easier to beat come November. "It's a dangerous game." pic.twitter.com/qmr6p6aW8t
— Virginia Kruta (@VAKruta) July 26, 2022
Anchor John Berman introduced Avlon, asking about the reported ad buys and noting that Democrats were effectively promoting pro-Trump Republicans in the hopes that they could effectively rig the primaries because they believed anyone tied to Trump would have a more difficult time beating a Democrat in a general election.
“There’s a lot of righteous talk, especially from Democrats, about how we need to build the biggest possible coalition to defend democracy,” Avlon began, noting that the Republicans who had only recently been lauded by Democrats as “profiles in courage” for standing against Trump and even voting to impeach him were the ones who were being targeted but this particular strategy.
“Talk is cheap, and the reality is that those brave folks, including Adam Kinzinger and Liz Cheney, have been taking a lot of fire from the left and right this year,” Avlon continued. “And the most recent example is Peter Meijer, a young Army veteran and rising star from Michigan. A man whose independent-minded, common-sense conservative principles perfectly fit the district once held by Gerald Ford. But yesterday, with one week until his primary, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee decided to drop more than $400,000 ad buy in his district to boost the name of his Trump-backed far-right primary opponent because they believe he’d be much easier to beat in a district that Biden won in 2020.”
Calling the move “incredibly cynical and hypocritical” — because it assumes that Democrats are not willing to engage in a fair fight should an anti-Trump Republican win in any of these primaries — Avlon went on to explain just how dangerous a strategy it could be.
“It’s incredibly cynical and hypocritical, and also part of a trend — Democrats trying to meddle in Republican primaries, not to aid honorable Republicans but to try to kneecap them,” he said. “It’s a dangerous game to play because, with the gravitational pull of the midterms moving away from the president’s party, there’s a non-zero chance that some of the more extreme candidates could win, despite being objectively worse fits for their districts.”
“Look, I get that politics ain’t beanbags, right?” Avlon concluded. “But some principles are bigger than partisan gain. Instead of focusing their primary political efforts on punishing the 147 members of the sedition caucus, Democrats are targeting honorable outliers like Peter Meijer. Unfortunately, he’s not alone. Take Adam Kinzinger and John Katko. They both voted to impeach Trump. Both represent blue states Illinois and New York. And in that once-a-decade redistricting, Democrats essentially erased their districts.”