The special Alabama senate election has quickly becoming a bit of a microcosm of the chaos inside the Republican party. To win, insurgent conservative Rep. Mo Brooks desperately needs to outflank incumbent Sen. Luther Strange.
Ahead of the Aug. 15th primary, Brooks is betting that the Alabama electorate hates Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., more than they love President Donald Trump.
Brooks has been haunted by his past criticism of Trump, particularly his statement during the GOP primaries that the president was "a serial philanderer." And in turn, Strange has made a habit of reminding the electorate of Brooks' political infidelity.
After taking Trump to task for his treatment of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Brooks has opted instead to tie his electoral hopes to his long-running opposition to the establishment.
"Luther Strange? He isn't telling the truth again. I wrote a $2,500 check to help President Trump defeat Hillary," Brooks says in a new ad as a picture of a check made out to Alabama GOP-National Account flashes on screen. "And in Congress, I vote with President Trump 95 percent of the time."
"So who are you going to believe: Mitch McConnell and Luther Strange?" Brooks asks. "Or conservative thought leaders like Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham, Ann Coulter, and Mark Levin. They've all endorsed me for Senate because I support President Trump's America first agenda."
Honestly, that might work. Though Trump's popularity remains high among Republicans, his productivity has been stagnant, and McConnell is easy enough to blame after last week's debacle. Brooks seems to believe that as with the long-promised healthcare bill, McConnell and Strange will only become more toxic the longer they languish in the U.S. Senate.
Philip Wegmann is a commentary writer for the Washington Examiner.