ICYMI: Washington Post: Opinion | An upset win over the ‘enjoy rape’ MAGA candidate speaks volumes
May 4, 2022
Key Point: “As Glanville put it, Republicans are telling us their own story about ‘who we are.’ Whether their rhetoric is anti-transgender, antiabortion, anti-education, or anti-democracy, Glanville said, the ‘thread’ running through it all is ‘extremism.’”
Washington Post: Opinion | An upset win over the ‘enjoy rape’ MAGA candidate speaks volumes
By Greg Sargent
May 4, 2022
Democrat Carol Glanville defeated her Republican opponent in a special election Tuesday for a Michigan state House seat. Glanville won by 11 points, 51 percent to 40 percent, even though the district has been represented by Republicans for decades.
Of course, Republican Robert Regan was an exceptionally damaged candidate. He gained notoriety when video recently surfaced of him suggesting that he tells his daughters to “lie back and enjoy it” if “rape is inevitable.”
It’s certainly possible Regan would have won if he hadn’t made this hideous statement. Yet the swing in the district was nonetheless unexpectedly large, and what’s interesting about this race is how the Democrat ran it.
Glanville adopted an approach to politics similar to that of McMorrow. Regan’s right-wing extremism went far beyond those rape comments and even included suggestions that the coronavirus pandemic and the Russian invasion of Ukraine (and of course Trump’s 2020 loss) were all hoaxes.
Glanville took all that on frontally. That’s hardly surprising by itself, but she also tried to weave it into a larger story about right-wing extremism and why it’s at odds with the values of most Michiganders.
“We showed that Republican extremism has no home in Michigan,” Glanville told me in an interview.
Importantly, Glanville went out of her way to articulate her own more inclusive values with conviction. She sought to turn the contest into a clash of values over what kind of society we want to live in.
As Glanville put it, Republicans are telling us their own story about “who we are.” Whether their rhetoric is anti-transgender, antiabortion, anti-education, or anti-democracy, Glanville said, the “thread” running through it all is “extremism.”
Which requires Democrats to respond with something big and meaningful about who they think we should be.
“Democrats need to tell their story,” Glanville told me, suggesting she could not have won without the Republican voters who responded positively to a Democrat who was forthright about what she believes.
Regan was obviously a very good foil for such messaging. But Democratic data analyst Tom Bonier points out that even a candidate as abysmal as Regan shouldn’t “produce a swing of this magnitude,” given that Trump carried the district by double-digit margins twice.
“Republicans have held the 74th House District in Michigan for the past 30 years,” Bonier told me. “Over the past decade, statewide Democrats have averaged just 38% of the vote there.”
This swing, Bonier suggested, “may be an early indicator of the electorate reaching a breaking point with Republican extremism.”
But the outpouring of attention to McMorrow’s viral moment suggests many voters crave hearing more from Democrats in response to the insurrectionism, relentless culture-war enemy-hunting and general lurch into extremism that are subsuming many Republicans.
Glanville won by outworking her opponent on the ground, McMorrow said, and by running a campaign that was about “family and community and shared values” while also offering a “rebuke of hate and lies and fearmongering.”
Whatever the precise meaning of Glanville’s win, that seems like a formula worth taking more seriously.