Bullies prey on the weak, and they’re usually very good at figuring out who the weak are. Master bully Donald Trump is particularly good at it. He must think that Mitch McConnell is very, very weak.
The other day Trump ripped into McConnell, calling him a “son of a bitch” and a “stone-cold loser.” True to form, Trump doubled down on his bullying by going after McConnell’s wife as well.
McConnell is the leader of the Senate’s Republicans, but Trump doesn’t think much of his leadership. It’s pretty clear he’d like someone else in charge. Lindsey Graham is jockeying for the role, as is Ted Cruz. Graham might get it. Cruz almost certainly won’t.
One of McConnell’s main jobs is helping Republicans win Senate elections. It should be one of Trump’s as well. The two of them should be cooperating, but working with someone who insults your wife can’t be easy. The party faithful may applaud Trump’s bombastic behavior, but it hard to see how it will help them win.
Mitch McConnell Is angry. Some companies (Coca Cola, Delta Airlines) are speaking out against the voting rights law that Georgia Republicans just passed. Mitch thought they were over the line and channeled his inner Trump to try bullying the companies.
“Stay out of politics,” he warned them. Or what? He didn’t say.
McConnell’s position is massively ironic. Republicans have been happy to take corporate money for years. They were also supporters of the Citizen’s United ruling that let corporations spend money to buy political ads. Apparently buying political ads is fine as long as you agree with McConnell’s politics.
The problem is, Mitch doesn’t really wear the bully mantle well. Sure, in the Senate he carries a big stick. But as a populist leader of the Republican party, it just isn’t happening for him. He’s past his sell by date. Ted Cruz and Lindsey Graham are running rings around him. Graham may even take his place as top Senate Republican (Cruz would love to, but it would never happen. Too many Republicans hate his guts.)
McConnell may have even scored an own goal with his threat. What if the Democrats agree with him and propose legislation to keep companies out of politics? It’s a slippery slope.