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Why McConnell 2014 = Rand 2016

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As more disappointing primary results for those of us still bitterly clinging to our guns and our Bibles like me continue to pour in tonight, there is now a subplot developing in the Kentucky U.S. Senate race that has national implications for 2016.

Ditch McConnell did beat upstart challenger Matt Bevin tonight, and by a solid margin. However, the 60% of the vote McConnell received is the lowest any incumbent U.S. Senator has received in a Kentucky primary since 1938. McConnell already had some of the weakest general election numbers of any GOP incumbent this cycle, which looks even worse when you consider how pro-GOP the 2014 cycle is shaping up to be this fall. But throw in the fact a primary challenger he out-spent at least 3-to-1 got more than third of his base’s support, and you don’t have to be the second coming of Lee Atwater to realize McConnell is in trouble this fall.

Enter his fellow U.S. Senator from the Commonwealth — Rand Paul. 

Several media reports indicated that McConnell marinated himself in the Rand brand down the stretch of the primary, and that barely a day went by that he didn’t find a way to link himself to his far more popular junior wing-man, who endorsed him early on. It’s quite likely McConnell still would’ve defeated Bevin even without Rand’s support, but the race would’ve been much closer. And an even closer primary would’ve weakened McConnell all the more.

Now an argument could be made that McConnell needs Rand just as much in the general this fall. If even some of Bevin’s 125,000 primary voters stays home in protest, McConnell could very well lose a state Mitt Romney won by more than 20 points in 2012. This is where Rand Paul comes in. Who knows how much of Bevin’s base is mad at Rand for backing McConnell in the first place? That is a question best asked of those on the ground in Kentucky. But over the course of the next five months it will be Rand’s job to find out, because he has a much better chance of turning out Bevin’s base than McConnell does.

However, an argument could also be made that Rand needs McConnell just as much as McConnell needs Rand.

Rand Paul has been running for the 2016 GOP nomination since about 10 seconds after Romney conceded. A lot of his political capital is now tied to Ditch. If McConnell were to lose in November, it could mortally wound Rand’s presidential aspirations because the narrative will not be that he attempted to mainstream his father’s movement, but that he “sold out.” On the other hand, if McConnell wins in November there will be little doubt that Rand “saved” McConnell to at least some extent, which then lets Team Rand make the case he’s now become a major political power-broker.

So Team Rand is married to Team Ditch now. Might as well consummate the relationship and put a ring on it. For the fate of McConnell’s U.S. Senate seat could also determine the fate of Rand Paul 2016.

(Steve Deace is a nationally-syndicated talk show host and the author of “Rules for Patriots: How Conservatives Can Win Again.” You can follow him on Twitter @SteveDeaceShow.)



  • PAFreedom

    Go Team Rand!

    • dave

      Rand has decended into rino territory !! A year ago he was my top man but now he is unelectable !! He has gone way left !!

      • Chris Sutter

        Do you think Rand is truly a Rhino? I can see clearly what Rand is doing here. He knows full well that the base has elected McCain and Romney. He isn’t really changing positions, he is trying to make himself more appealing to unfortunately a base that loves Rhinos. Once he wins the nomination we should see the true Rand again.

        • cactusbob

          Please don’t denigrate the rhinoceros by calling left-leaning Republicans Rhinos. They are RINOs (Republican in Name Only), and whether Rand has crossed the line into their territory remains to be seen.

          I’m disappointed that he endorsed Mitch (Ditch?), but maybe he’s trying to buy support for 2016. That attempt to buy support may have cost him a lot of conservative votes. Just the idea that Tea Partiers brought in a win for Mitch is a repulsive thought. A better deal would have been to have Mitch relinquish his Leader position to Rand starting now.

          I can’t see Mitch improving even if Republicans get control of the Senate, and certainly not if they don’t. Another plan could be to forfeit Kentucky to Grimes in order to get Mitch out of the Senate. Can you imagine how much will be spent to reelect Mitch, which money could help elect real conservatives instead of a useless has-been? Just thinking…

  • babtx

    Politics as usual. Even EX Tea Party politicians. We have no where to go :(

    • Panicazi

      Don’t be a fool. We have to play the game to get on the field.

      • cactusbob

        Or, we have to get on the field in order to play the game…

  • bobwhite1935

    We have to get the Republicans elected to Congress any Republican is better than a democrat, we know that the democrats do not have the best interest of the American citizens in the USA especially the 2nd Amendment, 1st amendment, their only goal is to have power over the citizens rights to freedom i.e barack hussein obama, harry reid, nancy pelosi, dianne feinstein & other communist democrats, if you value your freedom & Constitution vote Republican in all elections or it’s FEMA camps for all who oppose the commie democrats they’ll do just like just like Stalin did in Russia, Mao Tse Tung in China or all communist run countries.

    • BugaBuga

      I have been a Republican all my life, I am now 74, I am ditching the establishment GOP. I will no longer vote for the lesser of two evils or RINOs. I will not contribute to the RNC. The Repubs have become the Dems of a couple of decades ago. They left me, I am not leaving them, so to speak. They are gutless, spineless, and no longer represent me. I believe the best thing is either to take over the GOP or ditch them for a Conservative party. We will not be losing anything in the mean time. ( Because they will side with the Dems when the chips are down, anyway.)

      • bobwhite1935

        How many bills that the Republican Congress have sent to the Senate that harry reid declared DOA (dead on arrival) you won’t like living under democrat tyranny & letting your children, grandchildren (if you have any) do the same is a sin & also to all mankind.

        • BugaBuga

          Well, what difference does it make anyway. They are both the same now. If the Repubs had a spine or a plan they could do a lot, but as it stands, they have neither. We started losing our freedom under Bush. ( Do not say that I was not loyal to Bush, I was an elector for Bush in 2004 and that is a matter of public record if you want to check it out.) Since “O”, everything accelerated because none would stand up. Continuously running RINOs, good ole Boys, and the like does not help.

          • bobwhite1935

            You know as well as I do that nothing can be done as long as harry reid controls the Senate killing all bills or even if the House were to bring up an impeachment against barack hussein obama it would never get past harry reid. Just giving the Senate & House to bHo will doom your rights as a citizen by not voting & not voting Republican will assure your place in a FEMA camp whether you kiss obamas ass or not.

          • GQ4U

            True enough, but the House does control the purse and they have refused to control spending and/or funding outlaw agencies like the NSA, EPA, DHS, TSA, IRS and a host of other rogue anti-constitutionalists.

          • bobwhite1935

            All I can tell you is If you like your tyrannical government then vote democrat, if you like being lied to by people like barack hussein obama, joe biden, harry reid, nancy pelosi, dianne feinstein etc. then vote democrat if the Senate doesn’t become Republican you will still have any bill sent to harry reids led Senate DOA (dead on arrival). then kiss freedom goodbye while harry reid gets richer & more powerful.

          • GQ4U

            I was talking about the US House of Representatives — not the Senate. I agree Reid has to go and hopefully we will get some Republicans with the balls to do the right thing and return to a constitutional government. Even if conservatives control congress they will still have problems with Barry the usurper POTUS.

          • bobwhite1935

            At least if the Republicans control both Houses then if they pass an impeachment bill or whatever it is called barack hussein obama will have no say in it nor will the the thug harry reid so vote Republican & don’t stay at home if you think things are not going your way, don’t take your ball & go home that is a vote for a democrat like what happened to Romney in the last presidential election. In my opinion Republicans in the Romney/obama election stayed home because Romney was a Mormon.

          • GQ4U

            I haven’t missed voting in a primary or general election — ever. So why are you harping on this in a reply to me. What makes you think.
            112-Million adults failed to vote for POTUS in 2012 and most of them were not disgruntled Republicans or Mormon haters.

          • bobwhite1935

            I believe if you reply to my posts then you expect a reply back but it seems that you don’t . I can’t reply to all. I give up you all win, all I can say is a stay at home Republican on election day is a vote for the criminal democrat party.

          • GQ4U

            Replying is not the problem — its the inapplicable content.

          • cactusbob

            It is doubtful that McConnell will grow a pair and do anything to help conservatives, even if the Senate goes Republican. He’ll have the power to get stuff from Reid, instead of the other way around, and that won’t benefit the conservative cause. He needs to relinquish the Leader role.

          • GQ4U

            I can see your point, but now is not the time to surrender, now is the time to start swaying your neighbors by sharing the truth.

      • bbnnmm

        If the Republicans fail to win the White House you shall see the rise of a new third party. You can bet the ranch on it.

      • Abigsoxfan

        I am very likely as conservative as you. I want the most conservative candidates we can find to run as Republicans in the general election. However, I want Republicans that can win. The Republicans had a great chance in 2010 and 2012 to make major gains in the Senate but blew it by nominating candidates which were not electable in the general election. In 2010 we had the chance to bounce Harry Reid out of the Senate, but because of nominating a weak candidate we now have Harry as the Senate majority leader.

        William F. Buckley (about as conservative as one can be) once said to nominate the most conservative candidate who is electable. We did that in Illinois with Mark Kirk. Not my favorite Republican, but he votes right 85% of the time as opposed to what the Democratic nominee would have done. Mitch votes right over 90% of the time and probably 100% on the most important issues.

        Or we can split the conservative vote between the established Republican party and a new upstart conservative party and hand the country over to the Democrats for the next 50-100 years or the rest of your life and mine. We have a chance to take back the Senate, and I fear that like in 2010 and 2012 we will blow it again.

        • BugaBuga

          I understand what you are saying. Were you paying attention when the cloture vote to raise the last debt ceiling was dead and guess who voted for it???? McConnell and my Senator, John Cornyn. That was the last straw. Then they said that they voted against raising the debt ceiling.

          • Abigsoxfan

            I hate the debt, I hate raising the debt ceiling. The way to keep the debt from increasing is to cut government spending, not refusing to increase the debt limit. Refusing to increase the debt ceiling hurts the opposition party. It takes away the outrage of Obamacare, the debt, over-regulation, Obama’s screwed up energy policy, Benghazi, the VA scandal, the IRS scandal, etc. It would have played right into the Democrats hands as it did when it shut down the government when Clinton was President. You and I agree on most things it appears, I just think we have to be smart on how to get there. We have a great chance to get back the Senate. Losing Mitch McConnell doesn’t get us there. I don’t know this, but I’ll bet my Senator Mark Kirk voted for cloture to. But he’s better than any Democrat who would have his seat.

        • Derrick E Truett

          Mitch votes right 90 percent. Like yes to obombyacare, yes to debt ceiling increase, yes to insert your liberal legislation here.. Are you a liberal in hiding? Its no wonder no conservative can win because people apparently think a different flavor of liberal is somehow conservative. Rand endorsing this guy is like Rand endorsing a liberal. Perhaps he is playing politics but thats at least five telling things now that lead me to believe he is going to be another sell out currently in hiding. If I’m wrong then Ill be as happy as you but I’d wager I’m not.. Rand even getting media coverage should be enough to confirm that as well. This election pretty much mean it is likely another lost opportunity. We might make a few gains but enough to sets things right, unlikely.. Not to mention we have yet to be told how a sitting senator in a congress that is pretty much got one of the lowest approval rating in our history managed to win the primary via a landslide. I know everyone wants facts but lets face it. You will need to use your brain as the fact will never be highlighted for you. Was it because only 5 percent showed for the inconvient timing, liberals voting in both primaries, fraud, rule changes, excessive kickbacks from scammed tax payers, digital manipulation and perhaps even 120 percent showing to vote. I know it a liberal miracle because they think themselves gods.. Do I want someone other than a liberal sure but a liberal is a liberal.

          • Abigsoxfan

            Mitch voted for Obamacare? Really? Show me the proof. If you have to lie to make a point, the point is not worth making.

          • cactusbob

            Mitch’s voting is a very small part of his “performances.” His worst side is back room double dealing and back-stabbing when he should be getting the nation spending cuts and other benefits instead of giving away the store. His lying almost equals Obama’s.

        • Panicazi

          “Blow it again”? McCain? That was blowing it. Romney? That was blowing it. Conservatives win if a Conservative candidate is fielded. The last time we saw a Goldwater Conservative candidate was 1980 and he almost didn’t make it because of the Bush RINOs. Remember “Voodoo Economics”? That was a favorite campaign jibe by Bush against Reagan in the primary. The only way the Conservative vote gets split is if you convince enough people to vote RINO. Come on in for the big win and vote TEA. The Left and the RINOs are claiming victory after outspending every TEA candidate 3:1, and we still managed to pull off a couple of key upsets. Not to mention the political shift the RINOS are having to make. No, 2016 will be Rand or Carson if the GOP is to find success. Another RINO candidate (Bush or Christie) will not energize the Conservative base and hand us another 4 year march toward the People’s Republic of Stupidity.

          • Abigsoxfan

            I’m, talking the Senate. You want to know of recent Senate seats lost because of the wrong candidate? Connecticut, Missouri, Indiana, Nevada. You want four more Republican senators? There they were. But we blew it. And we can blow it again.

          • Panicazi

            Define “blowing it”. The way I see it, we are far better off with a divided government than we are under RINO GOP rule. The GOP has become unresponsive to it’s own Conservative base. At least with a TEA influenced House we are stopping some of the damage. A GOP House, Senate and POTUS ala pre-2006 will just give us more slow march to the People’s Republic of Stupidity. You want to talk about candidates being unelectable? Every RINO the GOP has fielded for POTUS in the last 30 years has failed to reach the White House with the exception of Bush I and II. No thank you to Bush III or Krispy Christie. I am no longer interested in supporting the GOP, only the Madisonian vision of the Constitution, republicanism and limited self-government. Either the GOP gets with the program or they can kiss their Conservative base goodbye.

          • Abigsoxfan

            Blowing it is not taking back the Senate when we can take it back. Blowing it is keeping Harry Reid as the Senate Majority leader where all decent legislation is blocked. Blowing it is leaving the Senate controlled by the Democrats so they can change the rules to approve cloture with only 51 votes instead of 60 and appointing all of Obama’s appointees including Supreme Court Justices. You think voting out Mitch McConnell helps us to avoid this? You want the Democrats running this country?

            Again, I’m not talking about the presidency, I’m talking the Senate which we need to take back to stop Obama! We can talk about the 2016 election after the 2014 elections.

          • Panicazi

            Before the GOP can start getting giddy over taking the gavel from Harry, the GOP must first find the gonads and intelligence to inspire the Conservative base, make it clear that is where the GOP will stand, and bring the GOP back together. RINOs will not, cannot make this happen. This internal GOP conflict is what is going to keep the government in the hands of the Democrats. We have a chance to re-establish the Constitution and the GOP is going to double down on RINO politics instead of embracing the Conservative base and from whence any Republican momentum exists, that is blowing it. We do not stand a chance in Hell of taking the Senate and we will probably lose the House over this unless the GOP recognizes the dire straights the GOP has created by abandoning the Conservative platform. As bad as the Democrats are, the GOP is committing political suicide by supporting Amnesty, campaigning against TEA candidates, and failing to stand up for the Constitution and Conservative principles. It has been a nice run since 1776, but GOP actions of late make it clear that this party is over.

          • cactusbob

            Think how much more success we could have had in the House with a conservative Speaker instead of RINO Boehner.

    • cactusbob

      There are a number of Republicans in leadership positions who don’t place the best interests of the nation before their own personal self-interests, just like the Democrats. The conservative cause would be helped by replacing them with conservatives, and in some rare instances maybe even a Democrat.

      • bobwhite1935

        I guess that’s the end of the free USA El Douche barack hussein obama has won.

  • Nunaya Dambizness

    Rand Paul has already sold out, right about the time he started chastising the GOP on Voter ID. Trying to pander to blacks, like that’s really gonna work! And he’s been squishy on amnesty as well. Rand isn’t so much selling out his father’s movement as he is selling his soul (and anything else that isn’t nailed down!) just to be President. Sorry, Rand, but it’s either Ted Cruz or Allen West for me; you’ve worn out your welcome.

    • bbnnmm

      Give Dr. Ben a good look-see too.

      • TimAZ

        The Dr. is unfortunately unable to grasp the importance of the second amendment so I can not support him as President. Vice President would be fine though.

    • http://www.DJKatieOrganic.com/ DJKatieOrganic

      Ditto Nunaya…Cruz or Allen….no more Rand either!!

    • Pete

      Allen West is a RINO. Sorry, has to be said.

      • AL Orange Park, FL

        you have got to show me on that one my friend!!!!!?
        I’ve followed Mr. West for a long time and have not seen nor heard anything such like.

      • glenn

        Show us the facts that he is a rino or be quite.I don’t believe for second he is a rino. Cruz,West or Carson will be our best chance to take back the WH and make it honorable again.

      • dave

        Allen West proved himself to be just another rino with his vote against repeal and defunding of ovomitcare so I could not support him either !!

  • docfjs

    Rand as Republican nominee? Perhaps but not likely. I think his histrionics about NSA remind me too much of Left Wing reactions to enhanced interrogation issues. I just don’t see how collection of metadata qualifies as some big privacy invasion just as I don’t see how enhanced interrogation of terrorists qualifies as torture.

    • TimAZ

      I hope you never find out how the NSA’s data on you whether manufactured or real can effect your life.

    • Derrick E Truett

      Try blackmail and extortion of your not so representative representatives. If you don’t think the gov extorts just check out obombya”extortion”care.. Course your comment would give pause to anyone who knows history, human nature and can do a little logic.

  • Roy Mallmann

    I think that it is wrong to try to take out a sitting Republican Senator just to put a Tea Party Candidate in. A bird in the hand is better than two in the bush. We have to unite the Republican Party and grow some balls and this means sticking to the principles of the Constitution. As long as we follow those principles we will succeed. We need to end fraudulent elections and voter fraud by any means necessary.

    • bbnnmm

      When the SITTING Republican Senator is a career RINO we need to take him out because he has NO BALLS ’cause he let the Dems castrate him and is beyond hope.

    • BugaBuga

      McConnell is part of the problem, not part of the solution.

  • bbnnmm

    Politics is a weird and slimy business. You, a lot of times, have to get into bed with a slime ball to advance yourself. I hope Rand throws his jammies out after he gets out of Ditch’s bed.

  • mzliberty2013

    I understand how this political move means for Rand looking for running in 2016. Even though I did not support McConnelI, I am still a Rand supporter and believe he would be the best candidate!

    • bbnnmm

      He’s pretty good but don’t discount the other guys. They have some best in them also. It’s too early yet to totally commit to any one guy. Sample the wine before you buy.

      • mzliberty2013

        I always give consideration to all potential candidates. Who are you thinking about when you say “some best”?

  • drattastic

    I voted for Bevin but I’ll hold my nose and vote for McConnell this fall anyway, beats the alternative democrat Grimes by a mile . I like Rand but I like Cruz too and who knows maybe Ben Carson , Scott Walker or an unknown may move to the head of the pack in 2016. First we need control of the Senate.

  • 1MaryAnn1

    So many people don’t vote because they cannot trust those running for office and one party looks just like another. In the end, the people lose, no matter who wins.

  • AL Orange Park, FL

    either way in my estimation WE lose, Paul is now no friend of the conservative and ditch well nothing more needs be said

  • Chris

    I’d rather see the Senate go Republican, McConnell lose to whatsherface, and the leadership mantle be passed to a real conservative. McConnell is an f’ing scumbag and he – along with Rove and the rest of the Chamber loving jackasses – need to be forced out. They never ever win anything except their own career extensions. Time for conservatives to step up and stop supporting a-holes.

  • gmhunt4

    Hopefully McConnell will lose the general election. Better to have a liberal than a RINO……

  • USCBIKER

    Rand is already toast, he will lose to Cruz, Rubio or maye even Walker. Some expert please tell me how Bevin was badly beaten in his own party but was polled to win statewide? The problem wasn’t McConnell, it was Bevin. He was a younger version of Mourdock or Akin, and GOP voters are too wary of rooting out the RINO, only to lose in Nov. We Tea Party types need to admit a guy dumb enough to endorse cockfighting is probably too dumb not to commit an even bigger gaffe in debates with a Dem, esp. when the media will pay closer attention. There’s also a credibility problem when conservative sites want us to pony up big $ for not ready for primetime candidates, purely coz their conservative. My gut told me Bevin would lose big and he did. I’m glad I didn’t waste any of my scarce $ on him. I wonder what’ll happen to Nancy Mace with Flimsy Grahamnesty? He’s a fairy with not nearly the killer instinct of McRINO. We shall soon see, I’d love to see him out and I think she could win in Nov.

    • Rational Muslim

      Cruz? He wasn’t even born in the United States!

    • UpLateAgain

      Draft Ben Carson! He’s very close to announcing. If he gets just a little more popular support, it will likely happen.

  • dave

    As I see it right now it is Cruz , Lee and Carson as our presidential hopefuls in 2016 !! Rand is out as far as iam concerned !! Cruz has my vote going away as of right now but Ben Carson is really a solid stand up tell it like it is guy also !!

  • darkcloud

    Here’s what I do every time I get a solicitation from the Republican Party for campaign donations. If it has a pre-paid return postage envelope with it I send it back with a penny taped to the pledge card and a small note telling them that is what I believe they are worth. I figure if enough people do this the cost would become prohibitive for them and maybe just maybe they might wake up. As for the Democrats I send it back with a due bill indicating how much they owe me as they are simply lost for all time.

  • UpLateAgain

    As a Tea Partier, Paul’s support of McConnell hasn’t make me support McConnell. It’s made me stop supporting Paul. Ben Carson is getting closer to announcing every day. He’s a solid conservative and a professional problem solver. My money (such as I have for politics.. which admittedly isn’t much) is going to the draft Ben Carson campaign.

  • GQ4U

    I liked Bevin but since he lost we need to back McConnell; his 80% plus conservative rating is far better than any democrat’s. Rand ain’t perfect but I like what he stands for and he is an eligible candidate, unlike super senator Cruz who if he were a Natural-Born-Citizen would be number 1 or 2 on my list for 2016, but alas, he is not.

  • Yoikes

    I think we slit our own throats if we don’t see that to regain power in this country, we must take the long, slow, patient road. We’re not going to suddenly go BOOM and the government is in conservative hands. In fact, that could actually be counterproductive. If Rand helps Ditch and Ditch helps Rand and then they work together, with Rand being the more powerful of the two, then we might start to see a shift back to sanity in this 0-weary nation.