Now that his deadline has come and of course gone, it’s certainly time to ask. . . what gives?
It seems that having President Trump throw his support behind Roger Wicker this early has really messed with McDaniel’s political calculus. It seems like they thought that Trump would be a bit more politically cautious after Alabama and not get involved in a primary fight, but that didn’t happen. And now that Trump is on board with Wicker, it would be hard to believe that Trump and Governor Phil Bryant would be on different political pages raising the specter of McDaniel having to run headlong into opposition from both a President and an extremely popular sitting Governor.
Speaking of Alabama, one of the main contentions is that Trump’s support didn’t mean a whole lot. But Roy Moore is a pretty different candidate. Here’s a list of his endorsements. In addition to a lot of the out of state talk radio and purity for profit sort of endorsements, he had some meaningful in state endorsements and he had run and won statewide twice before. In short, he had some native political apparatus helping him at home. And he didn’t have a cloud over him like Strange did. If McDaniel has prospective support from any elected officials for a US Senate run, they’re being super quiet. It’s conceivable that the people that of the 150+ people that politically and professionally know him best (that serve with him in the state legislature), he might be able to wrangle an endorsement from one or two. Maybe.
But the bigger question is that if Wicker is as bad a guy as McDaniel says he is, then why isn’t McDaniel signed on the dotted line and already campaigning? He’s putting out this sort of material on Facebook.
It’s painfully obvious that he wakes in the morning and goes to sleep at night with the all-consuming desire for a better government job than the one he currently has. In fact, it’s been that way since 2014 although with multiple opportunities he hasn’t answered the bell. But at some point, you’ve got to get your wife and kids on that podium dutifully in the background while you announce for Senate. It’s just not going to be won on Facebook. Again, even his most hardened supporters are starting to question whether he has the stomach for this or if there’s a candidacy at the end of the Facebook rainbow.
Again, McDaniel doesn’t have any real skin in the game at this point. Real money is not being spent or raised. He’s been extremely cautious about his language on whether or not he’ll pull the trigger and has this tortured back and forth about the complexity of the decision. In short, he’s essentially getting a free look. If Wicker or other Republicans don’t call him out, he can just rock along and hope that tax reform doesn’t happen or that something happens with Wicker and pray that another tea party type doesn’t hop in the race in the meantime. I’ve been consistent in saying that I don’t think he runs against Wicker (though, in full disclosure, I would have an absolute ball with it if he did). I still feel that way believe it or not, especially now with Trump backing Roger Wicker.
But again, it’s getting to “put up or shut up” time. So what’s it gonna be?