One of the marvels (term used neutrally) of our age is that Paul LePage actually won two elections to be governor of a state, let alone a blue state. Admittedly, at this point, he looks like more of a John the Baptist figure than anything else (though Trump lost Maine), and both elections were only possible thanks to a special snowflake independent who agreed with Democrats on 90%+ of issues but refused to just run in a primary, because the Maine Democratic Party is just the worst I guess? (Ineffective seems to be a fair take…) At any rate, the baseline 2016 assumption that a blue state electorate wouldn’t back a horrible, corrupt, authoritarian Republican in a multicandidate field featuring an uninspiring Democratic nominee was, in retrospect, not exactly safe, and LePage’s super-mainstream, “Maine’s Senators were dangerous for not supporting a wildly unpopular, shotgun wedding-style health care bill that would have devastated poor states like, you know, Maine” view shows that he never really had much understanding of politics at all. Meanwhile, Democratic elites are out of ideas again, trying out the greatest hits of 2005 by recruiting military veterans and pro-life candidates because that’s where the weakness was all along I guess.

(FWIW I have no real problem with having a few more veterans in Congress, though those who remember 2005-6 may remember a certain self-conscious strategy on Rahm Emanuel’s part remember that “recruiting military veterans” meant, essentially, nominating as many neoliberal hawks as he could. Some exceptions (Joe Sestak, namely, who nearly actually won a Senate seat in 2010 but couldn’t get nominated again in 2016 because of POLITICAL COLOSSUS KATIE MCGINTY whose massive seven percent in the 2014 gubernatorial primary was just too awesome for Pennsylvania Dems to pass up), but if Democrats aren’t actually willing to take on the incompetence of Trump & Co. at managing foreign policy without finding some random uniforms, then the additional uniforms aren’t really going to fix things for them. The real thing is Democrats finding a foreign policy that appeals to voters and to party members, and I’ll not hold my breath on that.)

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