The Centrist Independent Voter has already endorsed Tim Ryan (D) against J.D. Vance (R) in the Ohio race for the U.S. Senate. If you would like to see our reasoning on that decision visit the blog post on the question or our full list of endorsements in the 2022 General Election.
Candidate Quality and Senate Control
Mitch McConnell was right. The U.S. Senate will probably not flip to Republican control in 2022. He was also right about the reason: poor candidate quality on the Republican side. Republicans will not control the Senate after 2022 for the same reason that they lost control of the Senate in 2020: Donald Trump.
It is almost certain that Trump’s interference in the elections in Georgia, and his efforts to discourage Republicans from voting in the runoffs that followed, cost the Republicans at least one Senate seat. It now appears that Donald Trump is about to reprise his role as spoiler in 2022, by successfully endorsing candidates in the primaries who will be unelectable in the general election.
Centrist Independent Endorsements for the U.S. Senate General Election Races
Georgia is perhaps the most obvious case of Trump endorsing a weak candidate and discouraging potentially strong candidates from entering the Senate primary race.
Rev. Raphael Warnock is a progressive Democrat. He is endorsed by the Working Families Party (think Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez). It is unlikely that, in normal times, Warnock would receive the endorsement of the Centrist Independent Voter. These are not normal times. Making sure that Donald Trump loses his control over the Republican Party, and potentially the country, is far more important than keeping a Progressive Democrat out of the Senate.
As mentioned above, Donald Trump endorsed Herschel Walker in the Republican primary in Georgia and actively discouraged other potentially more viable candidates from running. Apart from opposing Walker because he is a Trump acolyte, we also find Walker to be unqualified for the U.S. Senate. His answers on the campaign trail seem bizarre and uninformed. I have nothing against famous football players, but there is nothing about that job that qualifies you for the U.S. Senate.
You might say that there is nothing about being a minister that qualifies you for the U.S. Senate either. It is not my favorite background for a member of the Senate. Nevertheless, ministers are public speakers and they have presumably spent many years wrestling with philosophical and ethical questions. While Warnock is hardly a centrist, he has at least spent a lot of time thinking about public policy positions and articulating positions on those issues.
We, therefore, endorse Sen. Raphael Warnock to be re-elected to the U.S. Senate from Georgia.
It was by no means a foregone conclusion that we would be endorsing the Democrat for the U.S. Senate seat in Pennsylvania. Donald Trump, by endorsing Dr. Mehmet Oz, made the endorsement of John Fetterman inevitable. Fetterman is no centrist. He is a populist Democrat. That would normally disqualify him from endorsement by the Centrist Independent Voter.
However, making sure that Donald Trump loses his control over the Republican Party, and potentially the country, is far more important than keeping a populist Democrat out of the Senate.
Apart from Trump’s endorsement, we have other concerns about Dr. Oz.
The first is his endorsement of products that appear, at best, to be controversial and possibly just scams.
The second concern is about his allegiance to the United States. Oz has dual citizenship with Turkey. He has served in the Turkish military. He defends this on the basis of his desire to be able to easily visit and care for his aging mother. Maybe there is nothing more to it than that. There is nothing inherently wrong with maintaining dual citizenship. As many as 40% of Americans may be eligible for dual citizenship and millions of Americans maintain dual citizenship. However, very few of these people have the need to handle sensitive national security information.
You might say that Turkey is an ally. Yes, they are a member of NATO, but they often take positions and actions that are inconsistent with U.S. interests. Consider Turkey’s attitude toward the Kurds during the fight against ISIS and their initial opposition to Sweden and Finland joining NATO. Even the best of allies will occasionally be at odds with U.S. national interests.
Dual citizenship, even with an ally, raises some legitimate concerns, considering that Senators are granted access to sensitive national security information as a matter of course. Oz has said he would forego any security clearances that might pose a problem, but Senators don’t need security clearances to have access to sensitive information. At the moment, there are no U.S. Senators holding dual citizenship.
In addition, I think you may all remember that in 2016 Donald Trump pledged to put his assets in a blind trust. That was an obviously meaningless pledge, since even if he did it, he would still know what actions hurt or help his business interests unless the trust was directed to sell them. In addition, we know that he never honored that pledge. What guarantee would we have that Oz, Trump’s acolyte, would honor his pledge.
You will notice that I did not mention Oz’s dubious claim to be a Pennsylvania resident. I suspect there are many Pennsylvanians who care about this issue. I am not concerned. There are many cases of U.S. Senators with dubious connections to the states they represented.
To be clear, the Centrist Independent Voter endorses John Fetterman for the U.S. Senate seat from Pennsylvania.