Changing the Calculus
Senator Barbara Mikulski’s parting gift to Maryland voters is to support the President’s doomed, dangerous, and absolutely insane deal with Iran. It’s fitting, given her record of sticking it to Marylanders, that she chooses to stick it to us and to all Americans one more time as she runs for the exit.
Support of the Iran deal has already made its way into the Democratic U.S. Senate primary. The establishment candidate Chris Van Hollen supports to deal, and the insurgent Donna Edwards opposes it. Potential candidate Elijah Cummings has also taken a position on the deal too, odd given the fact that the focus on the deal has been on the Senate side unless he plans on getting into the Senate race.
More interesting is the fact that this will change somewhat the dynamic of the Republican Senate primary. Republicans and conservative voters are more national security conscious than Democratic voters, meaning that those issues will be more important to Republican primary voters than they otherwise might be. That benefits Richard Douglas, who has an extensive background in national security through his Navy service, and his stint as Deputy Secretary of Defense. He has written and commented extensively about national security issues too; this was a topic that we touched on when we interviewed him back in July. Likely primary opponent Chrys Kefalas has no experience on national security issue, and his “exploratory” committee website has no information at all about any positions related to national security he may or may not hold.
How the election plays out is still to be determined. In 2012, Dan Bongino won largely the Republican primary over Douglas in no small part due to the focus on economic issues and the size of government. Mikulski’s capitulation on Iran will place a lot of focus on national security and how potential replacements will stand on the last eight years of foreign policy and national security issues. If this primary goes in that direction, it will look like a vastly different election than we saw in 2012.