South Carolina’s own Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and the Senate maverick Senator John McCain (R-AZ) were best friends in Congress until the Arizona senator died from brain cancer. There was not a more heroic, honorable, and patriotic person on the Hill than McCain. Then, something happened to Graham.
He decided to become Donald Trump’s best supplicant. Now, Graham looks 10 years older and like the life has been sucked out of him. Why did he do it? If he thought that was the path to re-election, the price may have been too high.
Greenville attorney Wallace Lightsey considers himself a “moderate Republican.” Over the years he has donated $9,500 to Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC). This year, he is defecting to the Democratic candidate Jaime Harrison, according to The State newspaper:
‘I was a big supporter of Lindsey, especially back in the ‘90s. I helped raise money for him and I really liked him. I thought he was very bright, very articulate and seemed to be pretty practical.’
Then came President Donald Trump:
‘As far as Lindsey’s concerned, with me, it’s all about Trump and Lindsey’s over-the-top support of Trump. I probably wouldn’t have done anything different if he’d just stayed quiet, but his very vocal support of Trump … that really turned me off.’
Over time, the defectors had given Graham $68,000. The senator currently has $12.8 million on hand. Twenty-four donors have given Harrison $27,000, and the Democratic opponent has eight million dollars on hand.
Former state GOP party chair Katon Dawson said:
‘Where Lindsey Graham has lost in that group he has gained much more in the conservative base. When he subtracts, he’ll pick up someplace else, and that’s what he’s done.’
Executive Director of the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan group, Sheila Krumholz said:
‘Given increasing polarization, it’s definitely unusual to see people switching parties, particularly big donors. There are not a lot of good examples of this phenomenon, which is why it’s so striking.’
Political Scientist at Furman University said:
‘It’s 24 people. But if there are 24 people who are willing to put money where their mouth is, there are going to be others who are going to show up and vote, and vote where their concerns are. Those 24 by themselves may not be that concerning, but what they may be representing might be.’
There was always appeared to be some turning point when his former donors turned away from Graham. One occurred when the senator did not defend his good friend Senator John McCain (R-AZ) against Trump’s vicious attacks — even long after the senator had died of brain cancer. McCain was an American hero who was a walking example of honor, integrity, and patriotism.
Some people were especially turned off by Graham’s behavior as he defended Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, who had credibly been accused of sexual abuse and attempted rape. Lightsey said:
‘The way Lindsey reacted during the Kavanaugh confirmation hearing, that really disappointed me.’
CEO of Owen Steel and a “practical moderate” David Zalesne said:
‘I liked Sen. Graham when he was sort of willing to buck some of the extremes of the party and carve out a more moderate path than some of his party was trying to carve for a while. I think some of that may have changed over the last couple years.’
Member of the Lincoln Project, the Republican political action committee determined to take down Donald Trump, Chip Felkel said:
‘The demographics of the voter that Graham has now lost are the people that, when the right wing wouldn’t give him the time of day, he could count on. A lot of those people write checks. His calculation is there are more hardcore Republicans then there are independents, so he is willing to lose them to pick up those others.’
Was that strategy ill-advised? Felkel considered then responded:
‘We’ll know in November.’
Featured image is a screenshot via YouTube.
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