FILE – In a Saturday, April 22, 2017 file photo, Republican gubernatorial candidate Corey Stewart, speaks during a Tea Party debate at Goochland High School in Goochland, Va. Stewart, an outspoken supporter of President Donald Trump who narrowly lost a bid to be Virginia’s GOP candidate for governor is now running for the U.S. Senate. Stewart announced his Senate candidacy Thursday, July 13, 2017. (AP Photo/Steve Helber, File)

 

Let’s not beat around the bush here: Corey Stewart should never be treated as a serious candidate, much less a party’s nominee.

The man has known ties with Paul Nehlen – the incredibly racist wannabe-challenger to Paul Ryan in Wisconsin – and Jason Kessler, the man who organized the Charlottesville “protest” that was little more than a rally for white supremacist groups.

Stewart has since said both he cut ties with both men and does not associate with them any longer. However, he has made the Confederate flag a key campaign issue, something other white supremacist groups enjoy, and Nehlen didn’t suddenly become a neo-Nazi overnight. He was always knee-deep in the alt-right.

Even if you truly believe Stewart when he says that he does not share their beliefs, the fact of the matter is that he is tainted goods, electorally speaking. I don’t believe it, though. You don’t make friends with Nehlen and Kessler without believing what they do. Their brand of “conservatism” is a cult that sees race as a cultural issue. You don’t just affiliate with that cult. You share their beliefs.

It’s very much guilt by association, because you are associating with something vile.

This is about the lowest-hanging fruit possible, and Virginians will eat it right up. There is no reason to suspect that Stewart isn’t more than a little flirtatious with the alt-right, and even if he weren’t, the stench of the racism is there. But, that’s the route the Virginia GOP has chosen to go. It sucks, but here we are.

And before any of you critique or chastise me for being “too PC” or whatever, let me say this: I want to win. I want conservatives to gain and hold seats. That’s exactly why I went so hard against Roy Moore, and that is why I will not endorse, support, or generally speak well of Stewart.

We as conservatives should want to win races, and it’s high time that we realize that not everyone who talks a good game is a great fit for office. We’ve struggled with this concept for years, and we’ve only gotten worse in the era of Donald Trump.

This isn’t a plea to find more RINOs who are “safe” enough to run for office. Ben Sasse and Mike Lee are two great examples of Republican Senators who don’t play it safe, who are good and genuinely conservative people, and they are by no means moderate, weak-kneed Republicans.

We have got to do better in recruiting and supporting good candidates. We can’t survive as we are now simply going along with mob rule and populist blowback.

That’s what the Roy Moores and Corey Stewarts of the world are. They are the guys who “say what they’re thinking” and “don’t care about being PC.” It’s killing our chances to win.

I want to win. Why don’t you?