A decent night for crypto-Republicans
Trump 2024 =>> Jeb! 2016
As a privileged private equity executive, the US financial system has been amazing for Trump. So naturally, he has been a vocal hater of crypto.
Results from recent GOP primaries suggest that Trump’s ability to influence GOP primaries is cratering. The two most indicative races were the PA Senate primary a week ago and the Georgia primaries last night.
The PA Senate race was a textbook case where Trump should’ve won easily. It was a first-past-the-post race, playing perfectly to Trump’s hardcore support among a minority of the GOP, between 2 very credible candidates (Oz and McCormick), a charismatic underdog-to-strong-contender (Barnette), and 5 other candidates.
After a week of vote-counting, Trump’s candidate, Mehmet Oz, is only .1% ahead of the vote with 32.2% of the total and still has a good chance of losing.
In GA, Trump’s “stop the steal” candidates were not only destroyed, they drastically underperformed election-eve polls. Gov. Brad Kemp was polling 10-15 points ahead, but won by 50 points (72-22). SecState Raffensperger also significantly outperformed expectations.
The Alabama Senate primary was the only disappointment. It matched up Mo Brooks, an erratically Trumpy social conservative whom Trump spurned for no particular reason, against Katie Britt, Richard Shelby’s longtime chief of staff. It goes to an as-expected runoff, but Britt won a surprising 45% of the vote and is thus a heavy favorite for the runoff.
In Congress, chiefs of staff are sometimes more powerful than senators themselves. They immerse themselves in legislative minutiae, know exactly how each vote affects each special interest, balance the politics of each vote with the price of their senator’s vote to the highest bidder, and broker their senator’s price accordingly. Chiefs of staff to committee chairmen often get comparably plum lobbying jobs to congressmen as payment for this influence if they need to move on with life before their boss is ready to retire.
CoS Britt and Sen. Richard Shelby made a very synergistic team. Shelby’s very slow Alabama drawl hid a razor-sharp political mind. As the top Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, Shelby was probably the best friend TradFi had in the Senate during my lifetime.
In the back rooms where the Congressional sausage gets made, and rent-seeking interest groups pull fast ones on the public time and time again (eg, student loan non-dischargeability in BK, student loans to for-profit colleges, relaxing Dodd-Frank to socialize 2008 financial losses, defending Visa’s and Mastarcard’s high interchange fees, etc), Shelby could be found, quietly but relentlessly shilling TradFi’s bags at Alabamians’ expense for the past 30 years.
So it was only fitting that when Chuck Schumer and Janet Yellen needed a Republican partner in crime to give Democrats bipartisan cover for screwing the crypto industry in the 2021 “infrastructure bill” at the behest of the Treasury Department, Shelby, now retiring, dutifully answered Schumer’s final call behind a smokescreen of bullshit. There’s no way Britt wasn’t involved with Shelby’s vote on that issue.
I’d hoped the crypto industry would make sure Britt would pay for that in the Alabama GOP primary by helping Brooks win. It doesn’t look like she will.