Trump, the Midterm Election Red Ripple, and 2024
Why did that massive midterm “red wave” fizzle into a mere red ripple?
Donald Trump had planned to use a post-midterm election “red wave” victory lap to tout what he has done for the Republican Party and announce he will be for the Republican presidential nomination in 2024. However, given that wave didn’t reach the beach and yielded only the thinest of margins for the House, there is a rising chorus of conservative voices asking what he has done to the Republican Party. Despite the underwhelming midterm results, to put it kindly, Trump the “kingmaker” did help rally grassroots support for 22 primary candidates back in May, but the fact is, 200 candidates won in the general election on their own merits, not Trump’s endorsement.
Unfortunately, the most critical Senate candidates with high-profile Trump endorsements did not succeed – Mehmet Oz in Pennsylvania and Herschel Walker in Georgia, now going to a runoff.
That Georgia special election for Walker will be the first big test of Trump’s 2024 presidential aspirations, and given that Democrats already have 50 seats locked up, the Walker seat is critical just to maintain the tie and the critical balance on Senate committees. But Walker will likely lose which is why Trump has already issued a disclaimer: “I think if [candidates I endorsed] win, I should get all the credit, and if they lose, I should not be blamed at all.”
Before considering further Trump’s candidacy — let’s consider the four factors that ensured the massive midterm “red wave” fizzled into a mere red ripple.
First would be the massive influence of the Leftmedia platforms, which perennially use their airtime to defend and endorse Demos. That, combined with the fact that the BIG Tech oligarchs have refined and perfected the suppression of conservative speech, is a major factor in keeping the political playing field listing hard left. They have done a masterful job of keeping the Demos’ low-info voters dumbed down. Just imagine what the political landscape would look like if the media talkingheads and scribes were actually exercising objective professional journalism.
The second factor would be the Democrats’ bulk-mail ballot fraud strategy, which they refined and perfected in 2020 under the auspices of protecting voters from the ChiCom virus. In tandem with Leftmedia and social media bias, that strategy ensured that the 2020 election would produce the highest voter turnout rate since 1900, paving the way for the election of Joe Biden. In a case study of how leftists have perfected the art of the BIG Lie, they label Republican efforts to authenticate who is voting, by mail or in person, as “voter intimidation and suppression.”
Republicans have fielded too few legislators and resources on the front lines battling these two factors, and too few conservatives are financially backing organizations like The Patriot Post in the thick of those battles countering these insidious leftist subterfuges.
Third would be the SCOTUS reversal on Roe v Wade ahead of the midterms. That was a Trump Supreme Court triumph, but the abortion reversal hurt Republicans as it became another rallying point for Democrats, especially in bellwether states and with their female voters.
So, what is the fourth factor that killed the red wave? That is the 600-pound gorilla who sucks all the air out of the room. But any criticism of that gorilla is still considered the third rail of Republican politics.
That would be the Trump factor, as affirmed by the most respected conservative political analysts.
Now, if you are one of Trump’s relentless defenders, stick with me through this analysis and then fire away. I have been there and done that.
Trump was the right general election alternative to Hillary Clinton in 2016, and, fortunately for the country, squeaked by her in the Electoral College vote. As I wrote often over his first three years, his administration accomplished many outstanding MAGA domestic and foreign policy successes, not the least of which would be his Supreme Court nominees.
He came into office swinging hard. As I noted in 2017: “The day he arrived in DC, he dropped a bomb on the Beltway status quo in Congress and its special interests. He dropped a bomb on the regulatory behemoths and their bureaucratic bottlenecks. He dropped a bomb on the trade and national security institutions and alliances that failed miserably over the previous eight years. And he dropped a bomb on all the pundits and mainstream media outlets.”
Those were glorious years, watching all the Demo rats scurry into hiding.
I wrote just ahead of his 2017 inauguration that his policies and personnel were shaping up to be as conservative as the Reagan administration, and indeed they were.
But the most stark and irrefutable difference between Trump and President Ronald Reagan was that Reagan united people across party lines, resulting in his historic 1984 reelection — when he won 49 states and lost only his opponent’s home state of Minnesota, and of course the bureaucrat vote in Washington, DC. No other candidate in American history has matched Reagan’s 525 electoral votes.
Conversely, there is no better evidence of Trump’s failure as a leader than his obsessive and self-destructive mastery of dividing rather than uniting, resulting in his reelection loss to the feckless and non compos mentis Joe Biden.
Despite my well-reasoned 2016 primary criticisms of Trump, and despite my criticism of his disgraceful and divisive communications as president, I did not foresee that he would devolve into a fratricidal autocrat by 2020, turning on almost all of his most loyal administration leaders who had lent their good names to his team in the best interest of our country — sometimes despite Trump.
I have been asked what the Trump turning point was for me. It came in December 2018, when he turned on Gen. John Kelly, a distinguished and humble Patriot who had served Trump very well first as DHS secretary and then as his chief of staff. In fact, the only key administration official Trump has not turned on is his former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. But even he now says, “We need more seriousness, less noise, and leaders who are looking forward, not staring in the rearview mirror claiming victimhood.”
Trump’s penchant for fomenting division and hatred, combined with the other factors noted above, not only cost him reelection in 2020 but cost Republicans a red wave of midterm victories.
Historically, there was every reason for knowledgeable political analysts and pollsters to predict those victories. Even Newt Gingrich, who said famously, “Republicans run campaigns, Democrats run elections,” predicted 54-55 Senate seats for Republicans and 20-50 House seat pickups. Looking back at three decades of midterm elections, here is how other presidential approval ratings impacted House and Senate gains and losses for their respective parties:
1994 Clinton approval 46%: -54 -10
1998 Clinton approval 66%: +4 and 0
2002 George W. Bush approval 63%: +8 and +2
2006 George W. Bush approval 38%: -32 and -6
2010 Barack Obama approval 45%: -63 and -6
2014 Barack Obama approval 44%: -13 and -9
2018 Donald Trump approval 41%: -41 and +2
Then comes Joe Biden, with an abysmal approval rating of 42%. He had not been over 50% in more than a year, and he owned a plethora of political failures that should have ushered in a massive change in the House and Senate. While we don’t have all the totals yet, we are struggling just to maintain a 50-50 split in the Senate, and it appears the Republican House majority will be as thin as it was for Democrats over the last two years — a margin of about four to six seats.
So what does this tell us? The explanation runs much deeper than just media bias and bulk-mail balloting, the latter being primarily in states that are already Democrat strongholds.
A key to understanding the Demos’ midterm election strategy was Biden’s response when asked about the results: “It was a good day for democracy. Our democracy has been tested in recent years, but with their votes, the American people have spoken and proven once again that democracy is who we are. While the press and the pundits were predicting a giant red wave, it didn’t happen.” And asked what policies he would alter as a result, he brazenly declared, “Nothing,” adding, “The more [the people] know about what we’re doing, the more support there is.”
And there you have it — Biden and his Demos based their midterm strategy on “protecting democracy” against Trump and his MAGA extremists. In other words, the masters of hate and fear ran on their “hate and fear Trump” model, and they succeeded in holding back a red wave in a year that all indications supported it — except for the Trump factor. Turns out it was a brilliant strategy.
I should note here that the election of Trump itself did not create the hate – the epidemic of cognitive dissonance on the Left we branded as Trump Derangement Syndrome – his election revealed that hate and fear.
Trump triggered primarily suburban “white privilege” Democrats, among them wealthy elitists who already harbor a fear of grassroots American Patriots, those Hillary Clinton described as “deplorables.”
But the divisive manifestation of Trump’s unmitigated egomaniacal narcissism certainly exacerbated the hate and fear.
This is precisely why Biden delivered two very high-profile speeches before the election about “protecting democracy” from the MAGA threat. “Protecting democracy” has become code for hate and fear Trump, as has the “MAGA Republican threat.”
Neither of those speeches mentioned a single word about inflation, crime, immigration, or any other voter concerns. Democrat pollsters knew exactly what “fear and hate Trump” buttons to push to keep their voters on the plantation months ahead of the first ballots being mailed. And that is precisely why Biden’s handlers sent him out with the “democracy” message. As for Republicans, apparently running against Biden’s record was not a winning strategy. Biden’s ineptitude was already deeply discounted by Demo voters, baked into the electoral cake. (Clearly, Biden so lowered the mental acuity bar for Democrats that even an imbecilic, tatted-up thug like John Fetterman prevailed in Pennsylvania.)
Like it or not, Trump is the lightning rod for all the deeply seated fear and hatred on the Left, and it is undeniably an earned and enduring legacy that he will not shake off.
Demos will run and win on the same hate-Trump strategy in 2024, when they will have substantially more Senate seats at risk. Of the 33 Class 1 Senate seats on the ballot, there will be 21 Democrats and two independents who caucus with Senate Democrats. If Trump is in, Demos will win.
As I have flatly asserted for almost a year, despite the faux speculation to the contrary, Joe Biden will NOT be a 2024 candidate, and once the Democrat Party has dispatched his heir apparent, Kamala Harris in the 2024 primary, much as they did Bernie Sanders in 2016, I believe their nominee will be California Gov. Gavin Newsom.
In other words, this will not be a “Trump v Biden” rematch.
Fortunately, there is a great field of rising Republicans, and I strongly favor Ron DeSantis, whose record is extraordinary and who is positioned well, paired with any number of great prospects for VP.
Unfortunately, Trump is already doing what he inevitably does when a far more qualified candidate is on the rise, attacking DeSantis and other potential Republican contenders, with petulant personal insults. He’s also threatening to share damaging information about DeSantis if he becomes a 2024 candidate: “I would tell you things about him that won’t be very flattering.” This from a man with Trump’s sordid ethical and moral record?
After Trump awarded himself full credit for DeSantis’s remarkable Florida victory, he sent out a delusional attack letter devoted entirely to fratricidal attacks on “Ron DeSanctimonious.” Trump is desperately trying to head off the grassroots swing to DeSantis, as more of his former constituents wake up to the realization that Trump is toxic to 2024.
I note here, considering Biden’s failing mental acuity, that Trump would be 78 years old in January 2025, a year older than Ronald Reagan was when he left office. Trump’s mental acuity is also in question, as evidenced by his aforementioned unhinged DeSantis attack letter.
Many grassroots conservatives rightly feel angry and frustrated with what the Left is doing to our nation and our culture, and feel powerless to do anything about it. It is akin to being stranded in a desert parched for a drink of water looking for relief…and Trump genuinely offers an endless supply of fresh clean water. But Trump’s greatest draw with many of his supporters is his greatest flaw in his admirable MAGA effort. He thrives on division.
As the editors of National Review note: “Many GOP voters appreciate [Trump’s] combativeness and hate his enemies… Once he won the nomination in 2016, they understandably voted for him in 2016 and 2020, given the alternatives. But the 2024 primaries won’t present a choice between Trump and progressives with calamitous priorities for the nation, but other Republicans who aren’t, in contrast to him, monumentally selfish or morally and electorally compromised. GOP voters should give up on the idea that Trump is a winner. After securing the GOP nomination with plurality support in 2016, Trump didn’t exceed 47 percent in either of his campaigns, winning in 2016 with 46.1 percent and losing in 2020 with 46.8. This is, to say the least, a very narrow electoral path, and one must assume that with all that’s transpired since 2020, Trump is weaker than in his first two races.”
For his part, Gov. DeSantis refused to take the MSM bait into a war of words with Trump, choosing instead to focus on the record: “One of the things I’ve learned in this job is when you’re leading, when you’re getting things done, you take incoming fire. That’s just the nature of it. I roll out of bed in the morning, I’ve got corporate media outlets that have a spasm — just the fact that I’m getting up in the morning. I don’t think any governor got attacked more, particularly by corporate media, than me over my four-year term. And yet, I think what you learn is all that’s just noise. Really what matters is, are you leading? Are you getting in front of issues? Are you delivering results for people? And are you standing up for folks? If you do that, then none of that stuff matters. At the end of the day, I would just tell people to go check out the scoreboard from last Tuesday night. The fact of the matter is it was the greatest Republican victory in the history of the State of Florida.”
Trump’s insatiable and understandable desire to seek vindication against Hillary Clinton and her corrupt deep state political collaborators, who conspired against him even before the 2016 election, will blind him from doing what is best for the country now, and will likewise blind some of his most sycophantic defenders and supporters.
When Trump did announce his 2024 candidacy, it sounded like that of an incumbent. But if Trump gets through the primary, the 2024 general election will not be a replay of 2016, when he lost the popular ballot to Hillary Clinton by almost three million votes but won the Electoral College. It will be a replay of 2020.
Notably, Trump’s considerable legal problems are one reason for his very early announcement, as he believes his candidacy will reinforce a defense argument that prosecution is political. The Demos certainly used their corrupt deep state assets to disable Trump when he was president. Indeed, right after he announced, Biden sent a special prosecutor after him, and those investigations will undermine Trump’s 2024 plans.
In the interest of giving a red wave a chance of hitting DC in 2024, I wrote in July that Trump should spend all his energy and $100 million war chest rallying his grassroots base, and then undermine the Democrats’ 2024 primary field by endorsing a younger presidential candidate … then get out of the way so that candidate does not drag all of Trump’s baggage — the hate, fear, and division he has fomented with Demos — into the 2024 general election.
The Democrats have already baked the Trump candidacy into their 2024 political calculus, but Trump could disrupt that plan by rallying his base and then endorsing a viable candidate, which would leave Demos endeavoring to run on their record – and they will fail to win under those circumstances.
If Trump can exercise enough humility to clear a path for DeSantis or one of the other very capable conservative 2024 presidential candidates, Democrats will have a difficult time prevailing in the next presidential election. But that is a YUGE “IF.” But the likelihood of Trump doing what is best for the country versus what is best for him, is zero.
It is more likely that Trump will do all the irreparable fratricidal damage he can do berating and insulting his opponents in the primary. If he is defeated in the primary, some of his supporters will not vote and do for Democrats then, what Trump did for the Democrats in the Georgia Senate runoffs in 2021. He will set the stage for Democrats to run far left and likely sweep the White House, Senate, and House in 2024.
As I stated above, if Trump wins the primary, he and the rest of the Republican field will suffer a greater electoral bloodbath than in 2020.
There is not enough lipstick on the planet to put on the Trump 2024 pig. According to long time Trump advisor David Urban, “Republicans have followed Donald Trump off the side of a cliff.” I can think of no scenario where he is the acceptable alternative to other far more capable and palatable primary candidates in the next election.
And there is a growing chorus of nationally recognized and respected conservative political analysts across the board, who have weighed in on the Trump factor, and it’s not favorable. But the record speaks for itself – once again, Barack Obama lost 63 seats in his first midterm election with 45% approval, yet with Biden at only 42%, Republicans had minimal gains. This can’t be blamed on media bias and ballot fraud.
Finally, let me give the last word on Trump to another of my favorite rising GOP stars, Virginia Lt. Gov. Winsome Sears, who stands out not just because she is a black female conservative but because she is tough as nails. Sears offered this advice on Trump: “A true leader understands when they have become a liability. A true leader understands that it’s time to step off the stage, and the voters have given us that very clear message. … I could not support him.” (Anybody want tickets to a cage match between Sears and Harris?)
Semper Vigilans Fortis Paratus et Fidelis
Pro Deo et Libertate — 1776
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