In a column for the Washington Post, longtime National Review writer Jim Geraghty used Rep. Lauren Boebert's (R-CO) near-loss of her seat in the midterm election as a cautionary tale to warn fellow Republican candidates that the politics of perpetual outrage and attention-seeking stunts did not play well with independent voters -- as well as some Republicans.
With the controversial Colorado lawmaker hanging onto her seat by less than 600 votes out of over 320,000 cast in a Republican-leaning district, the conservative columnist pointed out that her opponent Adam Frisch "wildly overperformed expectations by asking voters whether they were tired of Boebert’s brand of 'angertainment,'" before adding that Frisch is on to something.
"The limits of 'angertainment' were perhaps most vividly illustrated here, a rough lesson in the diminishing returns from an approach to governing that mistakes 'owning the libs' for getting things done for constituents," he wrote before adding that the results indicate, "demonstrates that Trump-esque style of turning the performative outrage up to 11 hit a hard ceiling among the electorate, repelling not just Democrats and independents but apparently a thin but decisive slice of Republicans."
As Geraghty wrote, Boebert took a short-cut to popularity by making outrageous statements and engaging in stunts instead of building up a record of accomplishments and listening to her constituents since being elected to Congress before caustically adding that "a much quicker and easier way to stand out is to be the most outspoken, controversial and arguably craziest candidate."
In part, he blamed the growth of candidates like Boebert -- as well as Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) -- on Fox News which amplifies their outrageous attacks for ratings.
But, as he notes, Fox News is not representative of the wide swath of voters -- as Boebert might have now learned as she starts her second term.
"During the Trump presidency and into 2022, a lot of Republican candidates believed that what appeals to the Fox News audience would appeal to enough people in the entire electorate, districtwide or statewide, to win a race," he wrote. "The midterms showed how mistaken that is; Boebert hanging on to her seat by her fingernails suggests that the outlandish, in-your-face, larger-than-life social-media viral personas that attract Trump and perhaps the network’s bookers is just barely enough to get you to 50 percent in a Republican-leaning district."
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