“What the hell happened to Lindsey Graham?” is the very good headline on a very good BuzzFeed piece on a question that I’ve wondered about myself.
Graham, in his days as John McCain’s best buddy in the Senate, used to be the other maverick — willing to break party stereotypes and make common cause with centrist Democrats to create to create various “gangs” (gangs of bipartisan possibilities to break deadlocks on important issues, including immigration), and he was among the loudest Republican critics of Trump (“If we nominate Trump we will get destroyed … and we will deserve it”).
Now he’s a leading Trump ally, and went bonkers during the Brett Kavanagh hearings.
BuzzFeed reporter Paul McLeod goes through the possible explanations, including political survival instincts and genuine anger during the Kavanaugh hearings. Whichever it is, Graham’s approval ratings among South Carolina Republicans jumped 20 points during those hearing, leading to this quote in the McLeod piece:
Lindsey’s political fortunes have completely turned,” said Matt Moore, former chair of the South Carolina Republican Party. “There were serious questions about whether the senator would face a credible primary opponent next year. Those questions have gone away. You’d have to be an absolute idiot to try to primary Lindsey Graham in 2020.
Graham is now traveling to other states to campaign against some of the Democratic senators who used to be his buddies.
Oh, and by the way, Graham has recently become chair of the Judiciary Committee.