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Thomas Gallatin / October 15, 2021

GOP Needs Trump to Get Past 2020

His fixation on the “stolen election” will do more to hurt Republicans’ 2022 chances than it will help.

Donald Trump had an incredible legacy as president, but sometimes he can be his own worst enemy. More broadly, as the leader of the Republican Party, he’s ensuring that his self-inflicted wounds damage not only his own (presumed) electoral chances but those of other Republicans as well.

Clearly, Trump has yet to get over the fact that he is not the one currently sitting in the White House following the 2020 election. It’s true that millions of Americans wish he were currently the president, enacting policies to make America great. But as they say, if wishes were horses, then beggars would ride … and we don’t see any beggars riding.

Trump has consistently referred to the election as having been “stolen” and “rigged” — claims he again raised at an Iowa rally. The trouble is, Trump has yet to demonstrably prove that any illegal shenanigans actually changed the outcome.

To be clear, we have repeatedly sounded the alarm regarding the real election fraud of 2020 — the Democrats’ massive bulk-mail balloting scheme. It’s not that we aren’t sympathetic to some of the claims of election fraud, or that we don’t see any evidence at all. There most certainly is evidence of unlawful activity. Again, it’s that we have yet to see demonstrable and legal evidence proving that this changed the outcome in enough states to make Trump president. Just because Trump loudly says so is not evidence that it was so.

At a recent Iowa rally, Trump was on his hobby horse yet again: “I’m telling you the single biggest issue, as bad as the border is … the single biggest issue, the issue that gets the most pull, the most respect, the biggest cheers is talking about the election fraud of the 2020 presidential election.” Yet recognizing that the charge sounds an awful lot like sore loser Hillary Clinton after her 2016 defeat, he asserted, “Here’s the difference. Hillary conceded. I never conceded. No reason to concede.”

Unfortunately, it appears that Trump has resolved to make “the presidential election fraud of 2020” a major campaign issue to defeat Republicans in the next election. “If we don’t solve the Presidential Election Fraud of 2020 (which we have thoroughly and conclusively documented), Republicans will not be voting in ‘22 and '24,” Trump said in a statement. “It’s the single most important thing for Republicans to do.”

Losing the next two elections is the most important thing Republicans can do? It seems that Donald Trump and Never-Trumper Jonah Goldberg finally agree on something.

There’s no question that election fraud is an important concern, and in fact several Republican-run states, highlighted by both Georgia and Texas, have sought to address these concerns via the legislative process by passing election integrity laws. In other words, Republican have been and are engaged in shoring up election integrity in the state. In Washington, congressional Republicans have been effective in preventing the Democrats from passing their disastrous HR1/SB1 election fraud bill. Insofar as elections are concerned, Republicans have been hard at work where it counts.

But the problem is that Trump’s complaint is about his own 2020 election loss. His “my way or the highway” approach has already proven disastrous. Trump’s declaring that the election was “rigged” cost Republicans two seats and thus control of the Senate thanks to low Republican voter turnout in the Georgia Senate runoff. Telling supporters not to vote is not a formula for winning elections, nor is it an effective means for addressing voter fraud.

To make America great again, Trump will need the help of a party that is in the majority in Congress. That should translate into helping Republicans win back control of both houses of Congress come 2022. This must be his top priority, especially if he intends to run again in 2024. Telling supporters not to vote is not the way that will happen. In fact, it will only create resentment against him from Republican candidates who would appreciate his help and leadership. Taking your ball and going home is not how you win the long game. You can’t win if you don’t play.

It’s time for Trump to stop bemoaning the past and start preparing for the future. And what better time to do so? He should remind Americans how good they had it under his leadership right when Joe Biden’s presidency is imploding and America is mired in his malaise.

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