Good Wednesday Austin.
Matt Mackowiak was elected vice chairman of the Travis County Republican Party Tuesday night, precisely one week since he tweeted at Donald Trump, “Go f**k yourself. You just conceded the most winnable election in 50 years against the least popular Dem nom ever.”
And that,”the lede of your NYT obituary will be that you are a loser, losing the most unlosable election in modern American history.”
And that, “You win particular credit for running the most inept, unserious presidential campaign in a century. Staffed by clowns, wasting money.”
And that, “Your natural instinct will be to lash out at everyone. You own this defeat. It’s yours. You earned it. No one else. Process that.”
It was all part of an epic tweet storm – which he deleted and apologized for, but the content of which was preserved by Fortune – from the Austin political consultant and regular contributor to the Statesman opinion pages as the polls were about to close in Texas last Tuesday.
Mackowiak had just pored over exit polls showing that Trump was going down to an ignominious defeat nationally. Then there were the early vote totals for Travis County that suggested that Trump was dragging down with him local Republican candidates, like Austin City Council Member Don Zimmerman, candidates on whose behalf Mackowiak had toiled.
But, as the night wore on, and it became apparent that Trump was headed not to a humiliating demise but to perhaps the most stunningly surprising electoral triumph in American political history, those tweets curdled.
Expungement was in order.
In fairness, virtually every pundit, politico and journalist consistently underestimated Trump’s prospects right up until the moment of his triumph.
Mackowiak is not the first or most prominent Texan to have savaged Trump, only to have second thoughts.
There was Texas Sen. Ted Cruz on May 3, the day of his Indiana primary loss to Trump that ended Cruz’s presidential candidacy.
Watch as he eviscerates Trump in the most thorough and personal ways possible.
No way to BleachBit that. Right?
Except that yesterday Cruz was at Trump Tower amid reports that he is being considered as Trump’s attorney general, which is an even bigger job than executive vice chairman of the Travis County GOP.
Before Cruz, there was Rick Perry, describing Trump as a “barking carnival act” and “cancer on conservatism.”
That was then.
Now, apparently, the Trump Transition Team has found – or perhaps is still looking for – the number of the pay phone closest to Perry to issue a call to duty, to which Perry is eager to reply.
And, for further context, Mackowiak is a prodigious tweeter.
This was not his first anti-Trump tweet storm.
Mackowiak had also warned that the elevation of Breitbart’s Stephen Bannon to chair the Trump campaign presaged disaster (just as many are now predicting that Trump’s elevation of Bannon to be his chief strategist in the White House presages disaster.)
As the Trump campaign hurtled to what promised to be a very bad end, Mackowiak early voted for Evan McMullin, the #NeverTrump write-in candidate for president, a choice that might have looked both principled and smart if things had gone as expected.
A week after the momentous election, Mackowiak was one of three candidates last night for executive vice president of the Travis County Republican Party at a meeting of the party’s executive committee – the 111 current precinct chairs and the party’s chairman, James Dickey, who had expressed his preference for Mackowiak.
In his remarks, Mackowiak apologized for last week’s anti-Trump tweet storm. He brought with him a plan for building the party.
He also brought with him a stack of his anti-Hillary tweets.
He won half the vote on the first ballot – 36 votes to 22 for T.J. Scott and 14 for Bette Pritchett.
On the second ballot, Mackowiak defeated Scott, 44 to 28.
Scott, who had seen the handwriting on the wall, had earlier told his supporters among the 72 precinct chairs in attendance, that if he didn’t win, “I don’t want you to protest or riot.”
The vote followed a discussion of whether the party still really needed an executive vice president, a strengthened position that was created earlier in the year to wrest as much power from the chairman as possible after Robert Morrow defeated Dickey for party chair in the March primary.
Morrow relinquished the chair after launching a write-in presidential bid in August.
Dickey, with Mackowiak’s backing, was restored to the party’s chairmanship in September, defeating Austin Republican consultant Brendan Steinhauser, after Dickey pledged his support for Trump, which Steinhauser said he could not do.
“I’m going to work my way from the bottom of the ballot on up, and I’m certainly not going to vote for Hillary Clinton, but I can’t tell you I am going to vote for Donald Trump,” Steinhauser said to some audible gasps.
But Dickey — who had a signed a letter to other Texas delegates prior to the Republican National Convention warning that if Trump won, down-ballot candidates would either have to become “full-time Trump apologists” or “risk being called disloyal” — said a party chairman has to support Trump.
In that letter, Dickey and the other Texas delegates, referred to Trump as a “failed candidate.”
“We face the real possibility of a landslide Clinton victory.”
After his election, Mackowiak offered his thanks and donned a Trump hat for a full ten seconds.
Meanwhile, Robert Morrow remains a presence on the local political scene – here he is on Election Day – though he is no longer the Travis Couny Republican Party’s problem.