If Mitt Romney Can’t Win a Senate Nomination in Utah, Is the GOP Dead?

The almost-POTUS is headed for a runoff--because Utah Republicans just weren’t that into him. What is happening??

Oh, my. Mitt Romney, the man who was within spitting distance of the Oval Office just two elections ago, can’t lock up the nomination for a Senate seat in Utah. After a protracted technical battle royale at Saturday’s Utah GOP convention, no candidate managed to hit the required 60% mark required to be officially nominated as the Republican replacement for retiring Sen. Orrin Hatch. Instead, he’ll now face Rep. Mike Kennedy in the June primary.

Now, many may justifiably chalk this up to the Byzantine and controversial rules of the Utah Republican Party’s nominating process--which has been especially contested among the Party’s faithful through this election cycle. BUT. It doesn’t take much divination to see this as a portent of the mood of the Republican grassroots in the era of Trump. Romney, one of the more articulate and bold critics of Donald Trump during the 2016 election, should probably be a shoe-in, particularly in Utah. Charges of carpetbagging notwithstanding (Mitt only recently migrated to the state, having previously served as governor of ever-blue Massachusetts), you’d think the first Mormon ever nominated by a major party for President of the United States would be their Beyonce-equivalent at this point. Not so. The undercurrent of resentment toward #NeverTrumpers among the Red-blooded base runs deep. This is merely a symptom of the wider disease, as it were.

We may still see get a fresh Rom-nom in June. The numbers were close this weekend, and Romney’s known to be a decent man with a solid, competent governing record. But Kennedy, for all of his policy agreement with Romney, displayed one thing at the convention that distinguished him from the more seasoned, recognized statesman: he openly supported Trump...not just individual actions, but POTUS himself. That, apparently, profoundly resonated with attendees.

I don’t think this bodes well for November. I don’t just mean for Romney/Utah, but for the GOP’s chances overall. If this event is evidence of a wider trend across the country, the tribal instincts of much of the grassroots Republican constituency appears to be recklessly doubling down on Trumpism. We know Democratic voters en masse are energized for the Fall, craving payback for ‘16 (not to mention a firewall against a conservative replacement for Justice Kennedy if he retires from SCOTUS). If the GOP base continues to eschew self-awareness and reject qualified faces like Mitt Romney for their alleged impurity, they doom themselves to permanent minority party status. I’ll cop to getting it wrong, with countless others, in 2016. That does not, however, convince me that crass populism is a template for repeated victory in the future.

I’m not saying Romney is the right guy for the job. Only that the current internal party cleansing may be less of a swamp-draining and more of a self-immolation. Pray for sanity.

Comments
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kk2859
kk2859

No, the Republicans in Utah have already figured out that the Former Governor of one of the most liberal States in the Country isn't a real Republican.

doctorstone
doctorstone

Mitt deserves to lose because he's a loser.

Jonah_Kyle
Jonah_Kyle

To answer the question "If Mitt loses in a GOP primary, is the GOP dead?", let me be succinct. No, it is NOT dead. What it shows is the opposite: a healthy acknowledgement that many voters have firmly stated that they do NOT want the GOP to become a progressive-lite version of the socialist Democratic Party, but to retain its tenets in a - gasp!! - federal "republic" of Constitutional governance. Romney essentially has taken over the "Jeb!" role in the Utah senate election, but the people are having none of this milquetoastiness of appeasement. While Edwards may not be Cruzian or Leean in his campaign politics, at this point we have no choice but to get the most constitutional candidate over the winning line, then more importantly, hold his feet to the fire when he's in office. But the fact that Romney was essentially supposed to get the Hillary coronation treatment en route to his Senate Leadership post (possibly even replacing McConnell), to derail that plan would be a huge victory for, dare I say it, the GOP!

etbass
etbass

Nothing in what I said had anything to do with his past. I am talking about Donald Trump today, as President. He is transactional. He has to either get or have real consequences to get him to move in a certain direction.

This race illustrates my point exactly. Here we have Trump endorsing Mitt Romney when there are other options, including sitting it out. Trump is actively helping the swamp and he should be called out on it. (He also did so with Luther Strange, which ended up costing the GOP a Senate seat, though the primary responsibility was not Trump's, as he was behind Roy Moore, Mitch McConnell, Luther Strange and Richard Shelby in fault.)

When Trump screws up, he needs to be called out. Endorsing Romney gives Romney the power, not Trump. Once he is elected, Romney is free to do whatever he wants to Trump. The power shifts.

Trump has implemented things that are more "positive to the Constitution than several other Republican presidents". We have only had one conservative President since prior to WWII, so it is kind of like being a one eyed man in the land of the blind.

You are pushing back to policy, which was what my entire post was about - Trump's actions as President and how he keeps endorsing and supporting the swamp. Either you really do give Trump 100% support, or you think Romney is the best choice for Senator. There is no other option. If Romney isn't the best, then Trump has to be called out.

I haven't seen any justification to impeach Trump, much less convict him of anything. It will all be a show anyway, designed to embarrass him. He will never be convicted because even if the Democrats had the votes, they don't want Pence and won't turn Trump into a martyr and energize the GOP. This is about embarrassing Trump, not removing him from office.

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