Republicans Are Trying to Figure Out Why They Flopped on Election Day. Blake Masters Is the Wrong Person to Ask.
In the wake of Republicans’ disappointing performance in this year’s midterm elections, when they netted only a handful of House seats and failed to take back the Senate despite what seemed like ideal conditions for the opposition party (an unpopular president in the White House and inflation at 8%), there have been predictable recriminations, most of them focused on the dismal performance of MAGA candidates, and some vague musings from Republican establishment figures about how the party can right itself.
Now, the GOP has formed a Republican Party Advisory Council to both look back at the 2022 election and to look ahead to what the party can do to win back the voters (particularly suburban women) it’s lost over the last six years. In principle, this seems like a good idea. But if you look at who the party selected to make up the council, there’s reason to doubt that the GOP has fully come to terms with what happened on Election Day. And one name in particular leaps out: Blake Masters.
Masters, of course, was the Republican candidate for Senate from Arizona, a protégé of Peter Thiel, a darling of what Vanity Fair recently called America’s New Right. Masters was well-funded. He was endorsed by Donald Trump. He was running in a purple state that before 2020 had never had two Democratic senators at the same time. He got lots of press. And yet he was soundly defeated by Mark Kelly, losing by almost five points. When the members of that Republican Party Advisory Council gather for the first time and asks themselves what went wrong in 2022, they should just point at Masters and say, “We ran candidates like you.”
Masters, needless to say, doesn’t see it that way. In fact, he’s blamed the GOP’s dismal showing on “consultant one-size-fits-all strategies,” and insisted that the party needs to “modernize.” And he still has fans within the party, people who see him as a young, energetic, forward-thinking candidate. But his continued popularity with some is, in and of itself, symptomatic of the problem the GOP faces.
It’s true that Masters was not a self-evidently hopeless choice to run against Kelly, the way guys like Doug Mastriano and Don Bolduc (whom I wrote about…