Leora Levy is wrong about the November ballot and Trump


I’d like to correct one statement — a lie — made by US senatorial candidate, Leora Levy, the Republican running against incumbent US Sen. Richard Blumenthal.

While stumping at a local county fair recently, Levy, who was against Trump before she was for him, insisted she is on the ballot in Connecticut, not the former president, whose endorsement she trumpeted back in August.

Of course Levy, a savvy fundraiser for the GOP, would want to distance herself from the divisive former president, who is at the center of multiple investigations for taking classified documents, for pressuring campaign officials to lie about campaign results, and for the role he played in the Jan. 6 insurrection. If we were anywhere but in Bizarro World, association with such a man would be political suicide. Yet there lurks Trump, his small hands clutching onto a frayed public life, inserting himself into the political discussion even when Republican candidates don’t much want him there. See JD Vance in Ohio.

This is a uniquely sticky situation for Connecticut Republicans, who have a proud history of practicing the measured politics of fiscal conservatism, while voting liberal-ish when creating and maintaining a social safety net. Historically, Connecticut Republicans were always the party you could depend on to cleave to the law. See Lowell Weicker, during the Watergate hearings. See Prescott Bush, during the McCarthy era.

But then came Donald Trump, a Democrat before he was a Republican, who brought a toxic mix of faux machismo and nasty unctuousness that proved to be an intoxicating drink for the so-called forgotten voter. Even Connecticut’s GOP was not immune. The state party’s sad metamorphosis lead Esquire magazine, in August, to bemoan that we “don’t make Connecticut Republicans like they used to.”

No. We don’t, though we still have a few. Elsewhere, too many Republicans seem to be of the everyday garden variety, embracing a party ideology that replaces policy with public taunts, and measured discussions with tantrums.

See Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, and his federally funding attempt at human trafficking.

Levy knows that as a Connecticut candidate, you can no more be a little bit pro-Trump than you can be a little bit pregnant. Trump is very much on the ballot, and we wait to see if this could be the election that removes his foul stench forever. For his part, Trump has pinned his hopes on candidates such as Levy, whom he endorsed in August.

He’s most definitely running, and in Connecticut, he’s losing. Last week, an Emerson College poll gave Blumenthal a 13-point lead. That’s somewhere between a shellacking and a spanking, and I’m not sure there are enough days left on the calendar for Candidate Levy to distance herself from the black hole at her party’s center.

Besides, when Levy said Trump isn’t on the ballot, she also said she and Trump “agree completely” on policy. At the time of her endorsement — made in a phone call to a barbeque just before the primary — Levy said she was “so honored, honored and humbled” to get that endorsement.

If you follow her on Twitter, Levy — as did Trump — appears to be against a great many things, and quick with declarative statements about just how awful things are in the state. She decries “woke nonsense” and “gender fluidity.” At this point, it’s impossible to see much daylight between Levy and her endorser, which should leave voters with little doubt who and what they are getting if they vote for Levy

Levy is right now out there pressing flesh and saying she is the embodiment of the American Dream. That is wonderful. We could use more embodiments like that. But when you see Levy, ask her how she intends to help others reach their American Dream. Ask her who won the 2020 presidential election. Ask her if she’ll accept the results of the mid-term election. Ask her to define critical race theory, which seems to haunt her dreams. Ask her for if she has a single, solitary political goal, other than beating Sen. Blumenthal.

Lying, obfuscation, and outlandish campaign promises are as much a part of politics as are voting machines. A 2014 study looked at such speech, and suggested things said during campaigns — even purportedly outlandish things — may serve a purpose. Promises and assertions made in a stump speech can serve as benchmarks for the candidate later. It’s something to which voters can return to say, “Wait. Didn’t you say you’d lower my taxes?” In other words, campaign promises and assertions can be aspirational.

But there’s no indication Levy is anything but a Trump Republican. That cannot be erased, avoided, or ignored. It’s Trump, all over the ticket.

Susan Campbell is the author of “Frog Hollow: Stories from an American Neighborhood,” “Tempest-Tossed: The Spirit of Isabella Beecher Hooker” and “Dating Jesus: A Story of Fundamentalism, Feminism and the American Girl.” She is Distinguished Lecturer at the University of New Haven, where she teaches journalism.



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