Source: The American Conservative
So Trump’s running in 2024. On the day he announced, Trump favorite Kari Lake lost the Arizona governor’s race. I hate that. Was there voter fraud? Maybe. But we cannot waste time griping about the possibility of voter fraud in such a close race. The fact is, Kari Lake will not be the governor of Arizona. The fact is, the Democrats are going to control the Senate, which, with a Democrat in the White House, means they can do a hell of a lot of damage (to the federal courts, for example). Would the Republicans have done better were it not for Trump’s influence, and his flawed favored candidates? Undoubtedly. To be clear, it’s not only Trump’s fault! The national Republicans had no message. They seemed to believe — hell, I believed — that they would win simply by not being Biden.
Well, we see how that went.
Anyway, look, I don’t want to fight about shoulda woulda coulda, except insofar as we have to sort this out so the people on the Right can get our collective act together and win elections, and change things for the better. I’m sick and tired of the Never Trumpers, who are a dead end for conservatism. Trump arose because people were sick of the GOP establishment. But I am also sick and tired of the Trump diehards who care more about indulging their obsession with Trump, and rolling in the psychodrama like swine in slop, than they do about winning actual elections and making changes in the world.
In a time of record inflation, of Democrats pushing racism and racial division, and pushing gender ideology all over, and of high crime — it is a scandal that the GOP performed as badly as it did in the midterms. Aren’t you fed up with the pointless drama, while the Left goes from strength to strength? It infuriated me to learn that grifter Trump sat on a pile of donated money and did not use the funds to help push Republican candidates over the line to victory — and not just that, but used these candidates (Blake Masters, Herschel Walker) to raise more money quietly for himself:
We are going to keep losing if we don’t put Trump behind us. I’m so alarmed by what the Democrats stand for that I’ll vote for Trump in 2024 if he’s the GOP nominee. But I’m not going to be happy about it, and I believe that Trump is the only likely GOP nominee that Joe Biden can beat. MAGA folks are often so deep inside the bubble that, like left-wing activists, they can’t grasp how any of this looks like to people outside the “church”. Michael Brendan Dougherty is correct here:
There’s a reason why Ron DeSantis is worthy of the kind of support he’s getting in the post-midterm period: he has some of Trump’s audacity, without Trump’s baggage — which also means he knows how to govern. Substance over style. Here’s some useful information:
On the other hand, from Politico:
A new POLITICO/Morning Consult poll shows that 47 percent of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents say they would back Trump if the Republican presidential primary were held today. By comparison, 33 percent said they would back Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. No other prospective candidate received above 5 percent in the poll, save former Vice President Mike Pence, who stood exactly at that figure.
But if the poll shows the clear path forward for Trump as he readies his third White House run since 2016, it also exhibits the peril ahead. Among all voters surveyed, 65 percent said Trump should probably or definitely not run again (with 53 percent in the definite camp). And while Trump’s standing has not dropped significantly since pre-election (he stood at 48 percent in the most recent Morning Consult poll), DeSantis’ star has risen. The Florida governor was at 26 percent in that last poll.
Marc Thiessen, a Trump supporter, pleads with him not to run again:
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Based on his record in office, Trump should be considered one of the greatest conservative presidents in modern times. The Abraham Accords are worthy of a Nobel Prize. Operation Warp Speed is the greatest public health achievement in human history. Trump made the United States an energy superpower and drove the Islamic State from its caliphate. He has a perfect record in appointing judicial conservatives to the Supreme Court. I have chronicled his accomplishments in these pages. I’m not a never-Trumper.
But another presidential run will obliterate what’s left of that legacy. After the 2020 election, I wrote that he should pursue his legal challenges but that if the courts rejected them (which they did), he should graciously concede, focus on saving the Senate majority in Georgia’s runoff, preside over a smooth transition, attend Joe Biden’s inauguration and prepare to reclaim the presidency in four years. Instead, he embraced election denial and surrounded himself with a clown show of legal advisers who convinced him he could hold onto office.
Trump’s failure to accept the election results meant he never understood why he lost: Instead of expanding his coalition by winning over Americans who had not voted for him the first time, he alienated millions who approved of his policies but not of him. In September 2020, a record 56 percent of registered voters told Gallup that they were better off under Trump than they had been four years earlier — a remarkable share amid the worst pandemic since 1918, the worst racial unrest since the 1960s and the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. But 56 percent of Americans didn’t vote for Trump; if they had, he would still be president. And his conduct after the election only served to confirm their judgment.
Last Tuesday, voters made clear that their judgment still stands. Despite the disasters President Biden has unleashed, they rejected Trump’s handpicked candidates — his proxies on the ballot — and gave Democrats back their Senate majority. That should be a wake-up call for Trump. He cannot win the presidency with his base alone.
The problem with the Republican Party is twofold: 1) Trump, and 2) visionless leadership at the top. If DeSantis wins the GOP nomination, we are likely to see a Republican landslide turning Biden out of office. If Trump wins the GOP nomination, then we are likely to see a Biden victory and more Democratic control of Washington, even as the party radicalizes further. Trump did good for the GOP and the country in his time, but he’s a proven loser at this point. As pleasurable as it often is to observe lib tears flow in response to his antics, the country can no longer afford carnival-barker leadership from the Right. It’s time to make the Republicans serious again.