I’ve noted previously how Republican candidate Patrick Morrisey’s campaign essentially consists of two elements: his total embrace of President Trump and the connecting of his opponent, Joe Manchin, with Democratic politicians that he believes are hated by West Virginians. While Morrisey's campaign website does have an issues section, we’ve read or heard very little about any of the issues included.
Morrisey’s Twitter feed, for example, is dominated by those two elements: President Trump is mentioned in almost every tweet as are some combination of Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi, and Chuck Schumer. Morrisey has apparently added a new wrinkle, however. Apparently not content with invoking his usual Democratic scapegoats, he’s added Representative Maxine Waters. From yesterday:
Maxine Waters? The outspoken African-American House Democrat? This was no accident – Morrisey’s tweet before that one quoted Trump that Waters was the Democrats “new leader.” (To Morrisey’s credit, he didn’t quote an earlier Trump tweet in which Trump called Waters “an extraordinarily low IQ person.”)
I think Morrisey’s strategy is obvious here. Waters is not just one of Trump’s favorite targets; she’s also one of the most popular for rightwing media. For example, if you do a search on the Breitbart site, it would appear that she was featured on a near-daily basis for most of the summer. Additionally, here’s Sean Hannity blaming her for June’s newsroom shooting:
Fox News host Sean Hannity suggested Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters was to blame for the shooting at the Capital Gazette newsroom in Annapolis, Maryland, days after the congresswoman's call to publicly shame Trump administration officials.
"I've been saying now for days that something horrible was going to happen because of the rhetoric," Hannity said on Premiere Radio Networks' "The Sean Hannity Show." "Really, Maxine? You want people to create — 'call your friends, get in their faces.'"
And of course, our local Wheeling Intelligencer took its shots at her back in June.
With no ideas of his own, Morrisey has now embraced Trump's racist attacks on Maxine Waters to excite his base. I’m sure that this is not the last that we’ll see something from Morrisey about Maxine Waters.
“I love the poorly educated.” (Candidate Donald Trump, February 12, 2016)
The Morrisey tweet cited suggests that he wants to debate Manchin but it makes no mention that it was he who backed out of the second debate. (Are his followers that unaware?) He obviously shares with Trump a fondness for voters who are “poorly educated” and who don’t keep up with events. Last weekend, non-Ogden media sources around the state reported that Morrisey had not met the necessary deadlines for a second debate and, consequently, it was canceled. (See here). Yet last weekend and yesterday, Morrisey continued to hint that it was Manchin who was unwilling to debate. Obviously, he knows that some of his supporters are uninformed about what happened. Additionally, when you have the largest newspaper chain in the state (Ogden) on your side, a candidate sometimes doesn’t have to worry that what is printed is accurate. In this case, at least seven Ogden news sources printed the following incorrect description as to why the 2nd debate was canceled:
Manchin had agreed to take part in the event. But, though an official in Morrisey’s campaign said the Wheeling event still was being considered, representatives of the newspapers agreed this week to cancel the debate because of time constraints. Lack of time to prepare for the event and plan a site for it were cited.
Time constraints were not the problem; Morrisey simply did not complete the paperwork. (Put more simply -- he didn't want to debate.) So for his followers, Morrisey can pretend that he wants to debate knowing he won't be pressed for the truth by them. Yes, it's a lot easier to tweet about Hillary, Barack, Nancy, Chuck and now, Maxine than it is to deal with actual issues.
Since I started working on this post earlier today, Morrisey has tweeted three more times. They all follow the pattern including this one:
Manchin should call his bluff.