Saturday, June 22, 2024

How The Midterms Broke Trump.

November 14, 2022 by  
Filed under News, Politics, Tech/Internet, Weekly Columns

( Because of some of my more recent takes on former president Donald Trump, I’ve been accused by column commenters and Twitter users alike of being – gasp – never trump. To be completely honest, it cut deep, Shrek, because it couldn’t be further from the truth. My very first political article published at any sort of major conservative outlet, TheBlaze in 2015, was a show of support for the then newly minted GOP primary candidate, and over the ensuing years in various outlets, there were plenty, plenty more where that came from, including a tribute to Trump’s brand of populism published at Breitbart in June of 2016. 

The truth is, the moment the brash billionaire rode down that famous escalator, larger than life, and talked about building a wall on the border to raucous applause, I was convinced that not only was this the candidate who best represented my values, this was the candidate who could win in 2016.

And win he did, and the first three years of the Trump administration were great, historically great even. Until Covid hit, the then-president was on a path to an easy reelection, and absent mail-in balloting and a few, er, quirks in a few key places, he would have won despite it all. But it wasn’t to be. Instead, we’re enduring perhaps the worst presidency in history and watching the nation fall apart economically and culturally in what seems like unstoppable slow motion. 


We all had hoped the midterms would deliver a massive victory and put the brakes on the Biden agenda. We hoped for a Red Wave, a Red Tsunami even, but what we got instead was more of a red trickle, if you can even call it that. Maybe the ultimate results – if Republicans do end up taking the House – will at least put a damper on Democrats’ plans for the next two years. However, the 2022 midterm results have made one thing abundantly clear – Donald Trump is not a viable candidate for 2024. Here are three key reasons why:

Trump is a horrible kingmaker

We all know what happened in Pennsylvania. Instead of picking someone who had a shot a winning in the state, Trump instead went goo goo-eyed over celebrity Dr. Mehmet Oz, who proceeded to go down in flames to a literal vegetable. He also managed to pick probably the only declared GOP candidate in Georgia who couldn’t ride Brian Kemp’s coattails to a 50% margin and avoid a runoff, and we all know the disaster that’s about to unfold there. (To be clear, I like Herschel Walker. Though I sincerely hope I’m wrong, I just don’t think he can win.)

“But but but, Trump’s margin of victory for endorsements is still 99.999999+% (or whatever),” you say. I would agree that whatever figure you trot out sounds impressive, until you consider the fact that other “Trump-endorsed” candidates include establishment politicians like Chuck Grassley, Elise Stefanik, and Tim Scott along with plenty, like Rand Paul, who would have easily won without his rubber stamp. Though there are certainly some great people on the list, if I were a cynical person I might suspect these endorsements have more to do with bowing the knee or at least not being perceived (yet) as an obstacle than any actual commitment to the ideals of Trumpism. This tells me his ‘kingmaking’ is far more about massaging his Fetterneck-sized ego than what’s good for the country and his base.

Red states are redder and blue states are bluer

One of the most interesting and frustrating aspects of these midterms is the fact that Republicans won the ‘popular vote by almost five million. Yet, both Houses of Congress remain almost evenly divided. Historically, a midterm where Republicans exceed or even match Democratic turnout means GOP gains, but not this year. What explains this? Red states getting redder, and blue states getting bluer. In a nutshell, while GOP turnout was certainly improved even in blue states like New York, it wasn’t enough to overcome new gen Z voters and young, unmarried women upset at the possibility somebody might not be able to kill their baby somewhere. So the result ended up being tons of conservative candidates losing by fairly narrow margins in many blue areas and dominating many red areas.

The upside to this, of course, is Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis proving that conservative GOP governance, when given a chance, can change hearts and minds and turn an area redder than it was before. The downside is that a politician as polarizing as Donald Trump, with his 39% approval rating, could never, ever win a purple state like Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Nevada, Arizona, or Georgia in today’s election environment. The path to winning a national election is tough for any Republican, but it’s particularly tough for someone with Trump’s baggage and polarization.

Trump is imploding before our eyes

This isn’t politically correct, but this stuff happens to many people when they get old. Paranoia, irrationality, stubbornness, and intractableness. Mix all that with the narcissism we’ve come to know and tolerate over the past seven years and you’ve got a particularly unhinged ‘get off my lawn’ oldster denigrating not our enemies, but this time our best, most effective politicians. The attacks on DeSantis and Youngkin are inexcusable, and if you’re trying to excuse them or call critics of those attacks somehow ‘establishment,’ you need to check yourself because you’re delusional.

It’s not 2016. It’s not 2020. It’s 2022, and in case you haven’t noticed, it’s an entirely different world. The latest criticisms of Trump are coming from solid conservatives with real scalps in the culture war, not Lincoln Project grifters who also hate DeSantis. Many have criticized Trump critics by saying ‘now is not the time,’ but they fail to understand Trump is doing this to himself. If there is a time at all, it’s before and during the primary season. I’d support Donald Trump in a general election and do everything I can to help him win. However, I’d be pessimistic about that win materializing.

Columnist; Scott Morefield

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