After dismal predictions for Democrats around the country, the red wave never arrived. Instead, Stop the Steal performed miserably on the ballot. A murderer’s row of extremist candidates preferred by Donald Trump lost. And despite polling noting concerns about inflation and crime, Democrats outperformed expectations.
Now, Republicans are attempting to figure out exactly what happened. In the process, they’ve turned to someone who made almost every error in the midterms possible, in one of the country’s most high-profile races: Blake Masters.
Republicans say the council is designed to bring in new voices to the party and to provide guidance on matters like outreach to minorities and suburban female voters, groups that the GOP has often struggled to win over.
The list of members includes Alabama Sen.-elect Katie Britt, Texas Rep.-elect Monica De La Cruz and Rep.-elect John James, a Black Republican who hails from McDaniel’s home state of Michigan.
The panel will also include former Arizona Senate candidate Blake Masters, who in the wake of his loss has called on the party to move on from “consultant one-size-fits-all strategies.”
Masters confirmed his panel participation to Politico, adding that he was excited to work with RNC chair Ronna McDaniels.
But you’ve got to wonder what McDaniels hopes to glean from the surprising partnership. One easily imagines Masters, a Peter Thiel protege and Stanford grad, sitting smugly before a couple of suits, hitting them with ideas he believes are simply remarkable: absolute monarchies are great, voting is bad, the economy is suffering because of diversity, the first Black woman on the Supreme Court is a pedophile apologist.
Plus, Master’s antipathy for the consultant class makes his selection for the RNC’s post-mortem panel especially confounding. After all, his failed Senate campaign is a master class in why you probably do want a few people to advise you to not loudly proclaim things about abortion that will lose you moderate voters. They’re the guys who could have directed Masters to internal numbers showing him that he was less favorable with voters than an accused pedophile.
Then again, maybe this is what makes Masters a prime candidate. Who’s a Republican simply too weird to support? A gun proponent too awkward to convince they can actually shoot a pistol in the desert? An incredible dork who can’t conceal his illiberalism behind red-blooded, Americana pastiche?
This “campaign ad” put out by Blake Masters does a great job of illustrating: 1) Why gun extremism turns off voters, 2) Why deregulating silencers – a GOP/NRA priority – is insanely dangerous, 3) Why the FBI should keep tabs on Masters now that he’s lost. pic.twitter.com/Y8fo6RcXX6
— Shannon Watts (@shannonrwatts) November 12, 2022
As my colleague Noah Lanard wrote in his own post-mortem, Arizonans probably weren’t aware of how extreme Masters really is. But they knew something wasn’t right and ultimately chose the relatively uncharismatic—but exceedingly normal—Mark Kelly. McDaniels and crew should probably take something from that—not the other way around.