In a 2008 column for The Hill, Daily Kos boss Markos Moulitsas warned Democrats not to listen to Republican "concern trolls," a term for those on one side of the political fence who seek to undermine the other side by offering it seemingly good (but actually bad) counsel. "Democrats," wrote Moulitsas, "understand that they're not in the business of giving their opponents advice."
Nonetheless, a Daily Kos writer stepped up to the concern-troll plate this past Sunday when Ian Reifowitz called on non-Tea Party GOPers in Virginia’s 7th congressional district to vote for Democratic nominee Jack Trammell in order to “punish Republicans who are too extreme,” including nominee Dave Brat. “If there isn't a civil war within the Republican Party yet, there sure ought to be,” opined Reifowitz, “and the 7th District is where sane Republicans need to make a stand.”
From Reifowitz's post (emphasis added):
I'm not here to talk about why Eric Cantor lost. Neither am I here to talk about what his loss to virtual unknown David Brat means, although I do think the always insightful Norm Ornstein is right on in connecting it to what he called the "new nihilism" on the hard right. What I want to do here is ask a simple question: What's next? Does right-wing radical David Brat speak for Republicans? This is the question that voters in the Virginia 7th congressional district will answer in November.
…If there isn't a civil war within the Republican Party yet, there sure ought to be, and the 7th District is where sane Republicans need to make a stand.
Rep. Peter King (R-NY), one of a dwindling band of relative moderates within his party, is speaking along similar lines...
...King...expressed concern to Greg Sargent that if the "Ted Cruz and Rand Paul wing" came to dominate the GOP -- something Brat's victory could help bring about -- it would "prevent us from being a national party."
Peter King is right. But are the anti-Ted Cruz Republicans actually willing to do something about it where it counts, in the Virginia 7th?...
...They need to send Democrat Jack Trammell to Congress...Yes, that's right. The time has come for the Republicans who agree with the Peter Kings of their party to do what Peter King himself, as a Republican congressional representative, could never even hint at, let alone call for publicly: vote for the Democrat.
And here's the thing: It's not impossible. Cantor won his last two general elections with under 60 percent of the vote, each time running against candidates (Rick Waugh and Wayne Powell) who had never before held office. Speaking very roughly, it would take a quarter of Romney-Cantor voters crossing the aisle to do the trick. David Brat's defeat of Eric Cantor was historic. Think of how historic it would be for the largely Republican district to then reject the extremist Brat in favor of Democrat Jack Trammell.
Tea party Republicans understand that, at least for now, non-extremist Republicans are their enemy. Their goal is to move the Republican Party as far to the right as they can, so that they can enact laws that reflect their radical views…
This is about whether there are enough Republicans who are willing to do what tea partiers have shown, time after time, they are willing to do. Just as tea partiers punish Republicans who aren't right wing enough, will the non-tea party Republicans ever stand up and punish Republicans who are too extreme, who truly are, like David Brat, off the deep end?
Because all the talk about the supposed Republican rebranding is really just window dressing until and unless Republican voters force their party to rebrand and reform by defeating a right-wing extremist in a red district. The tea party knows how to send a message. In the Virginia 7th, we'll find out in November if the rest of the Republican Party knows how to fight back.