by Park MacDougald
Wednesday, 3
August 2022
Analysis
10:00

Blake Masters, not Trump, is the future of the American Right

The candidate's win marks a big shift in the Republican Party
by Park MacDougald
Republican senate candidate Blake Masters. Credit: Getty

Five U.S. states held primaries yesterday. Interest was largely on the GOP side, with high-profile Senate primaries in Arizona and Missouri and a number of colourful Trump-aligned candidates across the board. As to the question that has transfixed the national media over the last two years — the extent of former President Donald Trump’s continued hold on the Republican Party — the results were mixed, to say the least. 

Perhaps the biggest scalp claimed by Trump was that of Peter Meijer, an incumbent Congressman from Michigan who voted to impeach the former president over the Capitol riot. Meijer narrowly lost to the Trump-endorsed John Gibbs, a black, Japanese-speaking computer programmer, former Pentecostal missionary, and traditionalist Catholic, in a race. Here, the Democrats ran paid ads in support of the “election-denying” MAGA candidate, apparently in the belief that Gibbs would be an easier opponent in the November midterm. Trump’s man in Arizona, Senate candidate Blake Masters, a former protegé of Peter Thiel and leading figure of the ‘New Right’, comfortably won his primary, as did Trump’s pick for governor in Michigan, Tudor Dixon.

Elsewhere the picture was muddier. At the time of writing, Trump’s pick for Arizona governor, Kari Lake, a former local news anchor who has repeatedly claimed the 2020 election was stolen, appeared to have lost to Karrin Taylor Robson, an ally of the retiring governor, Doug Ducey, though the gap has since closed and the race remains undeclared. In Missouri, Trump merely endorsed “Eric” — refusing to specify which of the two Erics in the race he was talking about. That’s because Trump was apparently leaning toward endorsing Eric Greitens — the scandal-plagued former governor who has been accused of sexual assault and blackmail (by his former mistress and hairstylist) and domestic abuse (by his ex-wife) — until his advisors intervened

In any event, the other Eric — Missouri attorney general Eric Schmitt — won, allowing Trump to claim an ambiguous sort of victory in a race he had little to do with. In Washington, meanwhile, pro-impeachment Republicans Dan Newhouse and Jamie Hererra Beutler won over a divided MAGA opposition. 

To the extent that there’s a lesson here, it’s that Trump remains powerful but not all-powerful within the Republican Party. He still commands a loyal following in the GOP primary electorate and his endorsement is important, especially in crowded primaries and for already-strong contenders. But it is not enough to put weak candidates over the top, especially when the opposition is able to rally around a single candidate. And voters in Kansas, who favoured Trump by a 15-point margin in 2020, yesterday voted down a proposed constitutional amendment to remove protections for abortion, suggesting that even in red parts of the country, the GOP will be punished for staking out positions that the average American regards as extreme. 

Of all the candidates who emerged from their party’s primaries yesterday, the most interesting to watch going forward will be Blake Masters, a former protegé of billionaire investor Peter Thiel. To call him a ‘MAGA’ candidate is technically correct but misleading. An intellectually inclined millennial who has spoken favourably of the Unambomber and whose slickly produced campaign videos have drawn comparisons to Christopher Nolan films, Masters is the single figure in American politics who best embodies what is fascinating, and frightening, about the so-called New Right — namely, as Aris Roussinos writes, its ‘revolutionary dissatisfaction with the status quo’ and ‘desire to win the coming ideological battle’.

Masters faces a difficult challenge in unseating Democratic Senator Mark Kelly this November. If he succeeds, however, he, far more than Trump, will be the man to watch for clues as to the future of the American Right.

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Jesper Bo Henriksen
Jesper Bo Henriksen
1 month ago

Tell your writer to stop taking so many naps. Kari Lake didn’t “lose decisively”, she won by a decent margin.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
1 month ago

Exactly. I nearly spilled my lunchtime G&T when I read that. Lake is currently up by 1.7% with 80% of the votes counted, and everyone knows that the in-person votes, which are counted later, will continue to break in her favour.
And they wonder why so many of us distrust, and are reluctant to pay for, the ‘journalism’ that is put in front of us.
That aside, the writer sneers about those who are dissatisfied with the ‘status quo’. This would be the status quo that has brought us Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, the financial crisis, the disastrous Covid response, disgusting levels of inequality, education systems that teach nothing, Big Tech censorship, dependence on Russia and Saudi for energy when we have all the energy we need, etc, etc. They expect people to be happy with this??!!

Last edited 1 month ago by Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
1 month ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Update: Lake now up by 1.8%

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
1 month ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Update. Lake declared victory last night, which the left and the MSM has described as being premature. I tend to agree with them on the basis that electoral shenanigans cannot be ruled out.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
1 month ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Update. Lake is officially the winner, despite an obvious attempt by the Republican establishment to fix this particular race with, presumably, a pre-emptive vote dump.
Perhaps the writer of this pathetic and inaccurate article could delve into matters such as the rigging of elections instead of making absurd an inaccurate predictions. But of course that would require some journalism, which is not something so-called journalists are wont to do these days.

Michael Daniele
Michael Daniele
1 month ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Moreover the author finds it “frightening” that a non-leftist candidate possesses a ‘desire to win the coming ideological battle’. Are you %^&*ing kidding me? The left literally does nothing BUT ideological battle. This person is delusional.

E. L. Herndon
E. L. Herndon
1 month ago

Hear! Hear!

Hardee Hodges
Hardee Hodges
1 month ago

Good to see the abortion issue in KS fail. I do hope that in most places the extremes subside into a reasonable compromise for an ugly situation.

David Yetter
David Yetter
1 month ago
Reply to  Hardee Hodges

You misunderstand the content of the measure that failed. Kansas, thanks to the Kansas Supreme Court conjuring a right to abortion out of unrelated texts in the Kansas Constitution the way the Roe court did out the U.S. Constitution, cannot have a reasonable compromise (say a copy of abortion law in any of the Nordic countries). The measure that was defeated would have allowed the legislature to regulate abortion (potentially including a ban), but would not in and of itself have changed abortion law in Kansas, other than abolishing a judicially created “right”. As is is now Kansas cannot have the sort of law a majority of Americas would like (74% poll as favoring Nordic-style restrictions).

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
1 month ago

Thank you for acknowledging that not all Republican voters are merely rubes that are intoxicated by Trump. Some of us have been around long before Trump arrived on the scene. Although I voted for the man twice, and think he delivered more on his campaign promises in 4 years than anyone I have seen in my lifetime, I hope he doesn’t run again. The swamp has already successfully consumed him, unfortunately, and there is no way out.

Terry M
Terry M
1 month ago

Hahaha! Wrong and wrong.

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 month ago

They have such unlikely names… like something from the cast of Dallas…

William Hickey
William Hickey
1 month ago

We Dallasites call them “American” names — and very few of them are parted in the middle.

Arkadian X
Arkadian X
1 month ago

I had to do a double take because as I started reading I though the author was talking about “black masters”, so I got a bit lost 😀

Anyway, a few days ago I was reading about that senator from Michigan (I think) – the one who testified that he had been leaned on to declare the election invalid, but didn’t budge – who was going against a Trump approved candidate. What happened in that race?

Last edited 1 month ago by Andrea X
Arkadian X
Arkadian X
1 month ago
Reply to  Arkadian X

No, it was Arizona. I have just read on the BBC website that Rusty Bowers has lost by a large margin.

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 month ago

the JP Morgan boss Jamie Dimon would make far and away the best, sane, educated, articulate worldly wise president, rather than this bunch of hicks, with shoe size I Q and dont know the difference between Austria and Australia, or where the continent called ” Yerp” actually is…