CORRECTION: This piece identified Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro as the presumptive Democrat Senate nominee. Shapiro is running for governor.
The presumptive Democrat senate nominee is current Lt. Gov. John Fetterman. Apart from the names, everything else remains accurate in context.
Foremost among them is Sean Hannity, who devoted a large portion of his Fox News show recently to tearing down this primary-race Cinderella story.
Hannity—known of late for his all-in endorsement of World War III in Ukraine and, before that, for his nonstop narcissist navel-gazing—is rumored to have been the driving force behind former President Donald Trump’s endorsement of celebrity doctor Mehmet Oz (a fixture on the Oprah Winfrey show for those who, like me, had never heard of him before).
RINOS ON THE CHARGE
One would love to have been a fly on the wall when Trump saw the internal polling and top-fold articles in diverse outlets from Politico to the Drudge Report to Breitbart, all noting Barnette’s recent apotheosis within the Keystone State’s GOP ranks.
The once and future president, whose own political viability may rest with his endorsement track-record in the upcoming races, no doubt read the Riot Act to figures like Hannity and former Director of National Intelligence Ric Grenell, who quickly leapt into action devising a despicable smear campaign.
Trump’s endorsement came during what appeared to be a two-person primary race, with GOP voters torn over whether Oz or wealthy, globalist investor David McCormick was the lesser of two evils.
However, Barnette emerged in the public eye following the scandalous leak of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade and send abortion back to the states. In a poignant and emotional video, she recounted her own experiences: of having been conceived out of rape to a mother who might have considered abortion but chose life instead.
Barnette has since faced attacks from multiple fronts, including accusations questioning her voting record, her résumé, military service and social-media history—with others, no doubt, already being planted.
While there is a case to be made for what Hannity described as “vetting,” the viciousness and volume of the attacks would make most first-time candidates crumple.
Yet, not only has Barnette withstood the slings and arrows with unwavering poise, even calling on Hannity to schedule her and Oz for an on-show debate (to which Hannity lamely demurred), but the sheer pettiness of the attacks has worked even more in her favor.
Conservative influencers in the media like Jack Posobiec, JD Rucker and Todd Starnes have now rushed to Barnette’s defense in an effort to debunk the falsehoods.
Hey @jackposobiec @JDRucker – just spoke with the head of communications and marketing at Judson University in Illinois. She confirmed that @Kathy4Truth was an adjunct at the school. Perhaps folks should consider fact-checking before slinging mud.
— toddstarnes (@toddstarnes) May 13, 2022
AN UNSTOPPABLE FORCE
Barnette’s rise mirrors, in some ways, President Joe Biden’s desperate and tone-deaf attempt to brand conservative critics this week as “ultra-MAGA,” which quickly backfired after right-wing deplorables mistook Brandon’s insult for a compliment.
Fittingly, Politico‘s piece on Tuesday was titled “‘Ultra-MAGA’ longshot roars into contention in key Senate race.”
Lest it be overlooked, though, Barnette’s identity as a conservative black woman—easy to forget among those who value the content of character over identity politics—is a factor of some enormity that would prove an asset in the general election and beyond.
With Oz and McCormick, both wealthy and privileged white men, presumptive Democrat candidate
Josh Shapiro John Fetterman, who is Pennsylvania’s current attorney general lieutenant governor, may not think twice about revisiting some of the loathsome rhetoric and dirty tricks that the Tom Wolf administration deployed to secure the state for Joe Biden during the 2020 election.
But for him to do so against Barnette would show
Shapiro’s Fetterman’s true colors as a racist, misogynist oppressor. And if Democrat cancel-culturists didn’t eviscerate him, Barnette’s no-nonsense blend of logic and emotion would find him running for the nearest groundhog hovel in Punxsutawney.
As the map currently stands, Barnette would then likely be the only black woman in the Senate and would, with the election of likely Georgia GOP candidate Herschel Walker (ousting incumbent Raphael Warnock) give the GOP a 3-to-1 advantage in minority representation in the Senate.
This symbolic milestone would be about much more than upsmanship, though.
The optimism generated by conservative minority candidates like Barnette, Virginia’s Winsome Sears, North Carolina’s Mark Robinson, Florida’s Byron Donalds, Utah’s Burgess Owens and others has not only helped to validate the movement’s broader populist appeal, but also to imbue it with a new and exciting energy.
Trump’s success in minority outreach may, in fact, be one of the most enduring legacies of his first term, even as other achievements are systematically dismantled by the current pretender-in-chief.
THE TRUE TRUMPIST
While Trump’s yes-men have lined up behind Oz for an unrelenting offensive between now and next Tuesday’s primary, the president himself seemed to buckle a bit with a statement released Thursday from his Save America PAC.
“Kathy Barnette will never be able to win the General Election against the Radical Left Democrats,” he began.
“She has many things in her past which have not been properly explained or vetted, but if she is able to do so, she will have a wonderful future in the Republican Party—and I will be behind her all the way,” he added.
Although Trump went on to reiterate his support for Oz, his diffidence was palpable.
Ironically, it seemed to evoke a familiar feeling—the gradual overcoming of deep-seated doubts and reservations that came with Trump’s own 2016 candidacy.
If anyone was positioned to be disloyal to the GOP, it was he—a longtime Democrat during the Bush years and notorious for being a switch-hitting pragmatist when his own interests were at stake.
Not surprisingly, the Bush neocons who held the party reins, hoping for a presidential hat-trick with Jeb, were quick to float the rumor that Trump might be a plant for the Hillary Clinton campaign—which even some otherwise highly intelligent individuals bought into.
Among those slow out the gate for the future prez was Barnette.
Although she has made conflicting statements about whom she voted for in the 2016 primary (if she voted in it at all), her tweets make clear that she needed some persuading.
— Kathy Barnette (@Kathy4Truth) September 27, 2015
#Trump2016 is good 4 beers & barbeque. BUT, not as President.
— Kathy Barnette (@Kathy4Truth) September 29, 2015
It may be too late for Trump to switch his endorsement, but the truth is that a resounding victory for Barnette is the best way to prove that Trumpism is alive and well in Pennsylvania.
Not only do her ideals better reflect those that Trump strove to represent, but her status as an outsider candidate parallels his own.
And it was that, not Trump’s past appearances on Oprah, which drove voters in Pennsylvania and nationwide to elect him into office twice.