I have to hand it to South Carolina Representative Mark Sanford. I don’t like his past, his adultery or the cover up, but I can respect that he’s sought to make amends, he repented, and that the people of South Carolina trusted him enough to put him back in office.
Sanford recently lost his reelection bid in a GOP primary that saw a rabid pro-Trump candidate slam him for his lack of fealty to the president.
President Trump had not been particularly active in the primary, but in the final hours before the election, he decided to tweet out an attack on Sanford, and support for his opponent.
How much this may have hurt Sanford is not immediately clear, although he does feel it bears some responsibility.
The Argentina reference was to Sanford’s affair with a reporter from Argentina in 2009.
Sanford, then governor of South Carolina, had basically disappeared. His aides told the press that the governor was unreachable, since he was hiking the Appalachian trail.
The resulting scandal eventually ruined his marriage.
Since that time, he seems to have rehabilitated himself, and his record in Congress, according to Conservative Review’s Liberty score is rated “A,” with 93 percent.
That’s more conservative than Senator Ted Cruz’s 90 percent.
In fact, Sanford has been a consistent, reliable conservative, so what happened?
He supported Trump’s agenda around 80 percent of the time, as well.
But that remaining 20 percent…
Our representatives should be willing to stand up to the president, even if he’s from the same party. They’re not elected to rubber stamp everything the president says. What if he proposes something that is detrimental to the representative’s home state? Would they want him to just rubber stamp whatever the president says?
That’s dumb, but it’s apparently what the Republican party is about, in this age of Trumpism.
"We swear an allegiance to the Constitution and we pledge allegiance to the flag and what was weird about this race that I've never experienced before in any race I've been a part of was an allegiance question where people say are you for or against the president," Sanford said during the MSNBC interview on Thursday.
"I've never before had a question of allegiance to a person, rather than allegiance to the flag and Constitution and to a degree that's what this race came down to," he said.
I had a friend running for office in South Carolina who, unfortunately, fell to the mindless attack of Trumpidian rage.
My friend is a young, enthusiastic Christian conservative, with a good head on his shoulders and a lot of promise. During the primaries, he was “NeverTrump,” but abandoned that when Trump became the nominee. He voted for Trump during the general election, and since that time, has been very generous with Trump, in my opinion.
My friend was doing well and even felt he had a good chance at taking the nomination for Rep. Trey Gowdy’s soon-to-be-vacant seat.
In the last week of campaigning, one of his opponents began to attack him for being insufficiently loyal to Trump, and pointed out his “NeverTrump” stance during the primary season.
I saw my friend get attacked and maligned – not for his ideas about policy or his conservatism – but about his lack of loyalty to Trump.
How this plays out going forward, with Republican voters-turned-Brown-Shirts, demanding the knee be bent before the orange altar is going to be really interesting, because as we’re seeing around the country, race after race, propping up Trumplican candidates during the primaries doesn’t mean those seats are safe in a general election.
What happens when/if the time comes that Republicans no longer hold a majority in the House or Senate?
I’m going to say Democrats with a majority are going to be far less agreeable to the Trump agenda than a handful of conservatives with enough backbone to call out Trump when he’s off the rails.
Pledging “allegiance to Donald Trump," Sanford warned Republicans, could be "a mistake on a soul level."
"There are always trade offs in politics … but I think everybody's has got to answer that question for themselves," Sanford concluded.
They do, but I have a feeling for the most faithful Branch Trumpidians, it's going to take a harsh fall to earth to get the point across.