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Tennessee’s Republican Nationalism Retaliates

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Republican Party bosses disqualify a Trump sponsored candidate

Republicans are expected to do well in the November elections since they can attack Democrats on everything from inflation to foreign policy.

As a result, the Republican Party is engaging in some self-destructive behavior: Witness the scene in Tennessee, as a congressional candidate sponsored by Donald Trump was thrown off the primary ballot by the state party.

We previously reported on the shenanigans in Tennessee, where state legislators attempted to disqualify some congressional candidates by enacting a three-year residence rule in the middle of an election season. This was a blatant attempt to stifle political competition. Despite the fact that the bill was signed into law without the Governor’s signature earlier this month, state officials determined that it does not apply retrospectively.

Candidates like Morgan Ortagus, who relocated to the state last year and is running for an open House seat in the fifth district, would be able to make their case directly to voters. The state GOP’s executive committee, however, voted on Tuesday to keep Ms. Ortagus and other candidates off the ballot.

Ms. Ortagus’ campaign claims she fits the party’s qualifications, which include voting in three of the last four primary elections, not just in Tennessee. A candidate can also qualify if a party official endorses them as “bona fide” Republicans, which Ms. Ortagus is by any standard. She worked for the Trump administration’s State Department as a spokesperson. President Trump, who is a Republican at least for these purposes, has endorsed her.

Surprisingly, it gets worse. State Senator Frank Niceley, a sponsor of the residency bill, waded in with a rude remark to NBC, saying, “I don’t think Trump cares one way or the other,” about the party’s moves. “I think Jared Kushner —he’s Jewish, she’s Jewish—I think Jared will be upset. Ivanka will be upset. I don’t think Trump cares .” Ms. Ortagus is Jewish, and the implication is clear.

This is the fast track to the Republican Party’s demise and electoral defeat. The Republican National Committee has considered holding its 2024 convention in Nashville, but Milwaukee is becoming a more attractive option. The campaign supporting Ms. Ortagus says it’s weighing its options, but the best conclusion would be for the state GOP to reverse its decision and promise not to disgrace itself again.

Image Credit: Getty

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