He’s “B aa aa ck!”—Demagogue Donald Endorses Wacko Congressman Ted Budd for North Carolina Senate Seat—June 11, 2021
What’s going on here? Are we watching the 1993 “Groundhog Day ” film where the main character Bill Murray gets trapped in a daily replay of the same 24 hours? We should wish. That movie was fiction. We live in the real world. Just a little more than four months after we saw the former occupant of the Oval Office leave after a nightmarish four years, Demagogue Donald has returned. Never mind that he tried to destroy our democracy for four interminable years. It was especially horrible that two weeks before Democrat Joe Biden’s swearing in as our 46th President, Donald incited a mob of his MAGA followers to storm the Capitol on 1/06/2021 to take back an election he ridiculously claimed was stolen from him. Five people, including a Capitol policeman died in this attempted coup while then VP Pence, Congressmembers, and Senators had to flee for their lives. Donald became the first American Chief Executive to be impeached twice, and only his GOP Senate lackeys kept him from getting convicted.
Apparently, nothing, even inciting a fatal riot, impeachments, overwhelming condemnation by the American people, and being blocked by Facebook and Twitter can sever Demagogue Donald from his fanatical followers. Not even five months after Donald left office, he’s “b aa ck” on the campaign trail. Donald still remains the front-runner for the GOP’s 2024 presidential nomination in every public poll. Lawmakers like Cong. Liz Cheney (R-WY) who impeached him and “dared” to accept the true results of the 2020 election have been purged from GOP leadership and will be facing Republican primary challenges by Trump zealots (See nytimes.com, Karni & Haberman, 6/05 and 6/06/21). On 6/05/21 at a North Carolina GOP convention that was billed as a resumption of his rallies, Donald showed no change in his wacko beliefs and no shame for his behavior. In a 90-minute speech, Trump ran through a series of conspiracy “golden oldies.” He raised delusional allegations of widespread 2020 “voter fraud.” He claimed that “thousands” of dead people had voted for Biden. Donald called for voting to be limited in nearly all cases to voting in person on Election Day. He stated he wanted no mail-in and absentee voting, which would greatly aid GOPers. He dismissed the results of the 2020 election as the “crime of the century.” Before this cheering Greenville, NC crowd, Trump absurdly added, “I’m not the one trying to undermine American democracy. I’m the one who’s trying to save it.” Donald constantly blamed China for the coronavirus pandemic. He received a standing ovation when he demanded “reparations and accountability in $10 trillion from China for inflicting the coronavirus on the world.” Trump called Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, a “radical masker.” He stated that Fauci was “not a great doctor, but he’s a hell of a promoter (nytimes.com, 6/05/21, Karni & Haberman, cnn.com, Orr & Warren, 6/05/21).” As psychologists would say, Trump is the one engaging in the defense mechanism of projection. Donald’s the one who’s a “hell of a promoter” for his own wacko views and brand, not Dr. Fauci.
Besides trotting out his usual tin-foil hat fantasies, Trump made additional political news at his first “comeback” rally. He stepped into the role of GOP kingmaker. Minutes after Trump’s daughter-in-law Lara (married to Trump’s son Eric) announced to the NC rally that she would not be running to replace retiring three-term GOP U.S. Senator Richard Burr in 2022, Donald backed NC GOP Congressman Ted Budd. Trump made this surprise announcement because he didn’t want “a lot of people running” in the NC GOP Senate primary. Two of Budd’s primary opponents, former NC GOP Gov. Pat McCrory and former GOP NC Cong. Mark Walker, also hard-right wingers, were at the rally along with Budd and were taken by surprise. Ex-Gov. McCrory sat stone-faced as Trump called him a fellow who has “already lost two races.” “Mr. Loser” Trump added, “You can’t pick people that have already lost two races, that do not stand for our values.” In endorsing Budd, Trump declared, “There’s somebody in this room that I think is very special. This man is a great politician but more importantly, he loves the state of North Carolina. This man is going to be your next senator.” Trump offered Budd his “complete and total endorsement (cnn.com, Orr & Warren, 6/05/21).” Budd did not even know he would be getting Donald’s endorsement until 15 minutes before Trump took the stage to speak (cnn.com, Orr & Warren, 6/05/21). Who is Trump’s latest “hero” Ted Budd?
Three-term GOP Congressman Ted Budd (41) presently represents NC’s 13th Congressional District (CD). The current Tar Heel 13th was created in a mid-2016 redistricting. The present NC 13th was formed with pieces of five districts under the old map. It goes from west of Raleigh and north of Charlotte. The current Tar Heel 13th contains two-thirds of Guilford County and all of Davie and Davidson Counties. The new 13th includes most of Iredell County and one-third of Rowan County (Cohen & Cook Political Almanac 2020). This area of NC constitutes part of the Triad area with the cities of Greensboro and High Point. Rapidly growing Iredell County, which includes the Charlotte metro area, has expanded deeper into the suburbs. Davidson County has many golf courses and calls itself the Barbecue Capital of the World. High Point, NC is one of the world’s biggest furniture manufacturers and High Point’s Furniture Mart is the center of the furniture business in the U.S. (Cohen & Cook 2020). The 13th is politically divided. Guilford County, which has nearly half the population, leans Democratic. It is 41% black, and Hillary took 59% of that county’s vote in 2016. The four counties to the west are strongly GOP and have large white majorities. In 2016, the 13th went for Trump by 9 points over Hillary. In 2020, Trump clobbered Biden in this district by 26 points. The most recent 4/15/ 2021 Cook Partisan Voting Index (PVI) gives “Team Red” a “y uu ge” R+20 score (Cohen & Cook 2020, cookpolitical.com/analysis /national/pvi/2021).
Winston-Salem native Ted Budd grew up on a 300-acre cattle and commercial chicken farm outside the town of Advance in Davie County. According to the Charlotte Observer, Budd’s father built a janitorial supply house into a facility-services company that employed 3,400 people in 10 states. Ted Budd graduated in 1994 with a B.S from NC’s Appalachian State. At Appalachian State, Budd worked on phone banks for hard-right obstructionist NC GOP Senator Jesse Helms. Helms often played the race card in his campaigns. Budd received graduate degrees in theology from Dallas Theological Seminary and in business administration from Wake Forest University in 1998 and 2007 respectively. He met his wife while they were on a mission trip to the former Soviet Union. Budd and his wife homeschool their three children(charlotteobserver.com). Bud worked for his father’s company. Budd owned his own gun store and shooting range, which he called ProShots. He opposes gun control. He views terrorism and mental health problems as the chief causes of gun-related violence (See Cohen & Cook 2020).
In a 17-candidate GOP primary for the newly drawn 13th , Budd with $500,000 from the right-wing Club for Growth, won by a 20% margin. In Trump year 2016, Budd clobbered his underfinanced Democratic opponent by a 12.2% margin (Cohen & Cook, 2020, b). In 2018, Budd ran against Democrat Kathy Manning and defeated her by 6 points. In 2020, Kathy Manning easily won election to Congress in NC’s 6th CD, a district redrawn by the NC Supreme Ct. that heavily favored Democrats (CQ 117th Congress At Your Fingertips). In 2020, Budd handily defeated another Democrat by a 26.4 margin (ballotpedia.org).
In the House, Cong. Budd was a loyal Trump foot soldier. He voted with Demagogue Donald 91.8% of the time, including a perfect 100% of the time in the 117th Congress (projects.fivethirtyeight.com). He voted with TX GOP wacko Cong. Louie Gohmert 92% of the time in 2021. Gohmert was the only Congressmember to speak at a recent TX conference. At that conference, QAnon conspiracy theories about the 2020 election were bandied about by Gohmert himself and disgraced former Trump advisor Michael Flynn. Flynn called for a “military coup” to oust Biden from power like the one that occurred in Myanmar (americanindependent.com, Singer, 6/01/210). Cong. Budd and his fellow NC Dem. Cong. Kathy Manning, however, have only agreed on 28 out of 152 votes in the current 117th Congress (projectspropublica.org). From 2017-2018, Cong. Budd received a 0% rating from the liberal ADA (Americans for Democratic Action) and a 14% score from the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union). The Club for Growth gave him a 96% average, while Budd received perfect 100% scores from the American Conservative Union (ACU) and the Family Research Council, an anti-choice group (Cohen & Cook 2020)
Budd opposed Obamacare and voted to repeal it (newsobserver.com). Trump was thrilled by Budd being one of 126 House GOPers to sign an amicus brief in support of TX in a lawsuit against PA. The U.S. Supreme Ct. turned down that suit which contested Biden’s 2020 presidential win (nytimes.com, Liptak, 12/11/20). Another key reason Donald endorsed Budd for the NC U.S. Senate 2022 contest was because Budd was one of 147 House GOPers who objected to the certification of Biden’s electoral win on 1/06/2021 even after the MAGA Trump mob stormed the Capitol (nytimes.com, Yourish, Buchanan, & Lu, 1/07/21). Cong. Budd opposes the For the People Act, a voting rights bill, just like Donald does. Budd claims this bill “rigs” elections to help Democrats, and falsely claims it “allows minors to vote (politifact.com, 3/10/21).” Cong. Budd was one of just 14 GOP House members to vote against a measure condemning the Myanmar coup. This measure overwhelmingly passed the House (cnn.com, Diaz & Wilson, 3/19/21). And just like Demagogue Donald, Cong. Budd did not pay much attention to protecting himself from COVID-19 or caring much about Dr. Fauci’s views on this issue. On 12/01/2020, Budd announced he had tested positive for COVID-19 (The Daily Beast, 12/01/20, Hodjat). Cong. Budd is not only a member of the Republican Study Committee, the largest and most influential conservative bloc in the House (CQ Almanacs). He is also a proud member of the even more extremist Freedom Caucus. The Freedom Caucus is a small group of GOP members ideologically aligned with the anti-government Tea Party. Louie Gohmert (TX) is a Freedom Caucus member and so is wacko Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA). Mark Meadows, a former NC Congressman who served as Trump’s Chief-of -Staff, was a Freedom Caucus member as well. This group helped push House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) to resign. Boehner called this group “a bunch of anarchists who want total chaos (vanityfair.com, 10/30/17).” Budd’s membership in this group gives him an “A+” in Trump’s “mind.” Ted Bud-- he’s just Trump’s perfect “robot” to carry on his views in the U.S. Senate.
The contest to succeed NC Richard Burr will be hot. Presently, at least 10 Democrats are vying for this seat in their primary contest. We don’t know if Trump’s endorsement of Budd will “clear the GOP field” for him. NC has recently been a closely fought state in presidential and Senatorial elections. By getting involved in a “sexting” scandal, Dem. Cal Cunningham lost this seat to unpopular GOP Thom Tillis in 2020. In the last few elections, GOPers have come out strongly for their candidates and put Trump over the top. In 2020, Tar Heel Democrats must come out united and in droves plus to give victory to their Senatorial nominee. Ted Budd does not represent closely divided North Carolina, only narcissist Donald Trump.