Utah’s 41-year incumbent Senator, Orrin Hatch, has announced he’s finally had enough of Washington and won’t run for re-election this year. No big deal, right? One old conservative swapped out for another old conservative. It’s a reliably red state. Not so fast.
You can expect the Bannonites, who are sounding a lot more tin-foil helmet than normal lately, to find some disturbed radical to the right of Hatch to run against the “establishment.” Thankfully, it looks like Mitt Romney will be the voice of reason for the Republicans in that state.
Romney, you’ll remember, ran a strong campaign against President Obama in 2012. You can blame whatever you want for his loss: the economy, “superstorm” Sandy, Chris Christie, his previous flip-flops or any number of things. During that campaign and in the subsequent five years, Romney has shown he’s a man of great honor who wants the best for the country. Romney isn’t a textbook conservative, nor is he the lily-livered moderate his primary opponents tried to paint him as.
Since the rise of Trumpism, Romney has been a strong and brilliant defender of common sense against all the huff and bluster we’ve seen from the President, his Twitter account, and whomever he may or may not be fighting with that day. In the Senate, Romney will be a leading voice challenging nonsense from the far right or far left.
John McCain, by all reports, may not make it through the year. Jeff Flake and Bob Corker won’t be in the Senate in 2019. Republicans hold the majority in the Senate by the slightest of threads, and the agenda being driven by the White House is all the more likely to endanger that remaining majority.
Mitt Romney has the opportunity to lead a movement of common sense debate and policy. He can be the voice of national reality, fighting against crazy ideas from the left and insanity among Trump supporters.
Is it going to be enough to save himself, the President, or the Republican Party? No one knows. But we can only hope.
Patrick Pfingsten is an award-winning journalist, political consultant, and PR expert. You can find him on Twitter @pfingsten1 or email him at email@example.com.