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November 15, 2022

Conservative Strategists on Trump — 2022 and 2024

A cross-section of reality-check analysis on Donald Trump and the Republicans’ 2024 presidential problem.

In 2022, Joe Biden and his socialist Democrat Party ran against Donald Trump, again, because they had NO policy success to run on.

Their 2020 “hate and fear Trump” model, bolstered by the J6 Capitol riot and their dependable Leftmedia and BIG Tech support, worked so well that, despite the Biden administration’s colossal domestic and foreign policy failures ahead of the election, which should have resulted in a massive “red wave,” Republicans could not retake the Senate, and their control of the House is just a razor-thin margin. That giant wave turned into a red ripple.

Of course, the 2022 SCOTUS reversal on Roe v Wade, a Trump court triumph, was also a factor, especially in bellwether states.

Now that Trump has officially announced his 2024 candidacy, Democrats are rejoicing because they know they can spend the next two years improving on their 2020/2022 model, including their Trump indictment strategy.

For the record, I agree with virtually everything Trump said in his 2024 announcement, and we have written endlessly in support of his administration’s long list of achievements, especially foreign policy successes — an amazing record for a one-term president. He noted all the new black and Hispanic voters who came into the GOP during his tenure.

He also correctly noted the relentless deep state attacks on his administration and on him personally. He noted the surge of inflation impacting the family budgets of all grassroots Americans. He noted the invasion across our southern border — millions of illegal immigrants invited into our country by Biden. He noted the Demos’ bloody crime surge

However, like it or not, Trump is the lightning rod for all the deep-seated Demo hatred and fear, and they demonstrated they know how to use those emotive sentiments to their advantage in 2020 and 2022, and will do so again in 2024.

Despite some scant political analysis to the contrary, 2024 will not be a replay of 2016, when Trump lost the popular ballot to Hillary Clinton by almost three million votes but won the Electoral College.

Democrats have perfected their “dumbocracy” model, which is why Biden devoted all his 2022 midterm campaign platform energy to “saving democracy” against Trump, and it worked even though Trump had not announced. That is precisely why, in Biden’s post-election comments, he proclaimed, “It was a good day for democracy.”

Trump will run as if he is an incumbent who was entitled to the 2020 presidency. He will create unmitigated fratricidal division through the primary and in the event he is the nominee, he will set the stage for Democrats to run far left and likely sweep the White House, Senate, and House in 2024.

As we have flatly asserted for the last year, Biden will NOT be the 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 or someone of similar broad leftist appeal – much younger and far more charismatic and dynamic than Biden or Harris.

For many reasons, a broad and growing contingent of notable conservative political analysts are looking to a post-Trump future. If Trump can’t do the right thing for the good of the future of the Republican Party and its defense of American Liberty, then it is left to his base of supporters to show him what he needs to do for the greater good.

What follows is a collection of comments in the wake of the “red wave” fail and Trump’s impending candidacy:

“When we look at the mission … the voters have spoken. And they have said that they want a different leader. And 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. Because this is about America … A house divided against itself cannot stand. And indeed that’s where we are today. … I could not support [Donald Trump in 2024].” —Virginia Lt. Governor Winsome Sears

“Donald Trump was this week’s biggest loser. … Trump is a liability for the GOP and it should now look to its younger generation of all-star governors for leadership.” —Michael Reagan

“I do not plan to be involved in politics. While I will always love and support my father, going forward I will do so outside the political arena.” —Ivanka Trump

“In race after race, House and Senate both, candidate after a candidate associated with Donald Trump did either worse than expected or lost.” —Brit Hume

“Trump has served his purpose in a way that many Republicans are satisfied with and would prefer now to move on.” —Ben Domenech

“We need more seriousness, less noise, and leaders who are looking forward, not staring in the rearview mirror claiming victimhood.” —Trump’s former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, the only top administration official Trump has not betrayed.

“Republicans have followed Donald Trump off the side of a cliff.” —longtime Trump adviser David Urban

“The core conceit undergirding Trump’s position at the head of the party has long been that, unlike others, he wins. Sure, his apologists say, he may be crude and ill-disciplined and unpredictable and rough, but he’s the party’s only hope of keeping out the Democrats; he and he alone has shown that he can do that. Now, this is no longer true — if it ever was. Because of Trump, Joe Biden is the president of the United States. Because of Trump, John Fetterman will be a U.S. senator. Because of Trump, the two runoff elections in Georgia in 2021 yielded two Democratic senators, which yielded the American Rescue Plan, which yielded turbocharged inflation. Because of Trump, the Republican Party found itself unable to capitalize on a huge midterm opportunity to send the Democrats the stinging rebuke that they so richly deserved. Donald Trump? Yeah, I remember that guy.” —Charles Cooke

“Democrats had a very good night on Tuesday, not so much because they succeeded in putting Trump on the ballot but because they expertly highlighted that the Republican Party chose to put Trump on the ballot by nominating the deeply flawed man’s preferred deeply flawed candidates. … Normal people, including persuadable Democrats, independents, and Republicans, have no interest in relitigating 2020; but for too many people involved in the primaries, that was a priority.” —Andrew McCarthy

“It doesn’t take courage to break the wall, it takes courage to uphold the law. … The presidents words were reckless. I honestly believe that we’re going to have better choices. I hear people saying that they would like us to move forward with leadership that will unite our country around our highest ideals and reflect the kind of respect and civility that the American people demonstrate to each other every day.” —Mike Pence

“One hopes that the lesson has finally been learned that Trump — no matter how much Republicans admire his combativeness, appreciate his entertainment value, and detest his enemies — is not a sound electoral guide, to put it mildly. Trump didn’t win a majority in either of his presidential elections. Trump won in 2016 courtesy of Hillary Clinton, the Electoral College, and a dollop of luck. At the end of the day, he’s a plurality, not a majority, candidate. Winning 46.1% worked for Trump in 2016, but it’s a formula for failure [now]. … Trump started out promising winning and now specializes in explaining away losses. He began as a stunningly fresh presence in American politics whose act now runs in well-worn ruts. He initially brought a focus to neglected issues that people cared about, but now devotes inordinate attention to his just-so story about 2020.” —Rich Lowry

“Of the $100 million Trump had, he only spent $15 million and saddled the GOP with a lot of clunker candidates. Part of the base, however, would rather blame conspiracies than ever cast doubt on Trump. … I’ve looked and relooked at all the election data. Independents and 13% of the GOP are begging the GOP to just give them non-crazy candidates. They even like Trump’s policies. They just want those without Trump and the crazy.” —Erick Erickson

“Since Donald Trump became president, Republicans have lost the House, the White House, and the Senate. … The national GOP needs to recognize Biden’s irrelevance, settle on an economic message and agenda that wins public support, take lessons in how to talk about the right to life, and reconnect with independents, suburban voters, and moderates. Maybe the governor of Florida, who just won reelection by 20 points without Trump’s ‘help,’ can teach them how to do it. … Trump sees no interest but his own. He is the chief obstacle to a Republican revival.” —Matthew Continetti

“Watching Trump … I’m reminded that he’s an ignorant bully who only cares about himself. His mere presence on the public stage hurts America by creating more division and hate.” —John Stossel

“To the degree Republican gubernatorial candidates not supported by Trump easily won their races in states like Georgia and Ohio, they helped Trump-supported senatorial candidates. To the degree Trump-supported gubernatorial candidates lost badly such as in Pennsylvania, they hurt Trump-supported senatorial candidates.” —Victor Davis Hanson

“Nationalizing the race may help Republican Herschel Walker win unless former President Donald Trump comes in and depresses turnout by casting doubts on the process, as he did two years ago — helping Democrats win their 49th and 50th Senate seats on Jan. 5, 2021.” —Michael Barone

“When Trump went on the campaign trail for the election in 2016, he was having fun. He was naming people, giving them fun names, enjoying the base, and having a good time. Even in 2020 you could feel the energy was electric. I think after the 2020 election, and because of the shock of all the things that happened and the sinking realization that we might be actually losing our country, it pushed him into an angry space. Now it seems he doesn’t trust anybody. He’s almost likely to believe that everybody’s trying to turn their back on him.” —Candace Owens

“Toxic Trump must leave the stage. Following last Tuesday’s elections in which Trump-backed candidates lost, Trump began denouncing Florida Governor Ron DeSantis for no reason, other than to try to weaken the governor should he decide to run for president. Trump claimed he has ‘dirt’ on DeSantis. Talk about the pot calling the kettle black. … Trump then dumped on Virginia Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin, saying his name ‘Young-kin’ ‘sounds Chinese,’ and claimed credit for Youngkin’s victory. … Reagan was a consummate optimist. Trump behaves like a petulant child whose toys have been taken away from him for bad behavior. … If Trump couldn’t win in 2020 and if his acerbic personality helped Democrats win both houses of Congress then and kept Republicans from scoring overwhelming victories in last week’s election, what makes anyone think he can do better in 2024? … Living in the past is for losers and Trump is the greatest loser.” —Cal Thomas

“The problems with the GOP that led to Trump will not be fixed even if Trump vanishes tomorrow. But Trump presents problems and we need to face them. Before we go further, we need to be clear because some folks are a bit sensitive when the subject of the ex-president comes up. Get over it. He works for us. We owe Trump nothing. He’s a politician. He owes us.” —Kurt Schlichter

“In an election year that favored Republicans purely for its timing as the first midterm of the Biden administration, an advantage that should have been helped by a president with chronically underwater approval, inflation above eight percent, surging crime and drug overdose crises, a wide open border, and so many more reasons, there’s no reason Republican candidates should have performed as poorly as they did. … No one believed that ‘Democracy is on the ballot’ was a winning argument made by Biden and Democrats — and yet that argument seemingly won out over what Republicans were pitching as their final argument.” —Spencer Brown

“I’ll always be grateful to Trump for showing the GOP how to fight, and particularly for the slate of justices and judges he and McConnell pushed in such numbers through the Senate. But those wins are forever ago in political time, and there have just been too many unaccountable losses in between.” —Stephen Green

“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. … To paraphrase Voltaire after he attended an orgy, once was an experiment, twice would be perverse.” —National Review

“A lot of [Trump supporters] stayed home last Tuesday because of Trump’s decision to make the midterm election results all about him.” —Salena Zito

“When the concept of Trump was that he stood for the grievances of the voters, they were for him. At some point, it stopped being about the voters, and it started being about his own personal grievances. And that is when he started losing voters.” —Conservative strategist Bruce Haynes

“The Georgia Senate race ended up being the most expensive in the country — money that Republicans really could have used in other races. Walker [is] headed for a runoff. Trump is on track to screw that one up too, by announcing that he’s running for president, so he can make it all about himself again. If Walker loses, let the record show that this will be the third consecutive Georgia Senate seat Trump has lost for Republicans.” —Ann Coulter

“New York and Michigan both voted for feckless tyrants who locked them up during COVID but refuse to lock up actual criminals. They voted for tyranny. So let them have what they want. Good riddance.” —Matt Walsh

“How could you look at these results … and conclude Trump has any chance of winning a national election in 2024?” —Scott Jennings

“I have seen enough. … Regardless of the final numbers, given economic conditions, Biden’s unpopularity, out of control Wokeness, COVID insanity, and basic historical norms for a midterm election, 2022 is the most underperforming cycle for the GOP in my lifetime. Why? Donald Trump.” —John Ziegler

“What concerns me the most about the election is that all these angry explanations for why we lost, i.e., we came off as angry and extremist, including on abortion don’t ring true to me. What does is the possibility that the electorate has permanently changed.” —David Limbaugh

“Trumpism remains popular. Donald Trump is not. Not with women. Not with independents. Not with moderates. Not with young people. Not with college graduates. Not with a statistically meaningful enough part of the electorate that his presence, aura, and input will do anything other than cost us elections.” —David Bahnsen

“The fact that many Trump-endorsed MAGA candidates lost is an obvious sign that he is losing influence and standing in the Republican Party. Trump’s attacks on DeSantis and Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin following the election results have further eroded his base’s support. … In Florida, Trump’s margin of victory was just 3%, but DeSantis’ margin of victory was 20%.” —Armstrong Williams

“When any party is out of power, as Republicans are now, we don’t have a single leader. The former president [Donald Trump] is obviously very popular with many of our voters. But we also have important other leaders as well … like Brian Kemp in Georgia, Ron DeSantis in Florida. Last year you had Glenn Youngkin have a great victory in a bluish Democratic state like Virginia.” —Sen. Tom Cotton

“Independent voters want competence and normality. Which is totally understandable after Trump/Covid. Where Republicans provided both — Kemp and DeSantis — they won handily.” —Michael Brendan Dougherty

“Democrats are preparing to employ the same strategy that helped them overperform in 2022 to prevail in 2024. In the midterms, it was Republicans running in swing states and districts who tied themselves – or were able to be tied to – former president Donald Trump and his efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election who struggled the most, despite having the winds of an unpopular Democratic president and economic dissatisfaction at their backs. Naturally, Democrats want to use Trump again in 2024. … Of course, DeSantis’s supplanting of Trump would present a problem for Democrats. With no boogeyman to deplore, they’d have to defend their own records.” —Isaac Schorr and Brittany Bernstein

“Well, no wonder the guy is so damned sanctimonious. Maybe his nickname should be Ron DeLandslide. Or Ron DeSavage. Ron DeSanctimonious smeared the former governor by nearly 20 points. Former President Donald Trump could only remark that, well, he got more votes back in 2020. That’s true, but it is also true that 2 million more Floridians showed up to vote against Mr. Trump than showed up to vote against Mr. DeSantis.” —Charles Hurt

“In Florida, Gov. Ron DeSantis … won an overwhelming victory: he grew his 30,000-vote, 0.4% 2018 victory margin to 1.5 million votes and nearly 20 points, and took the entire Florida GOP along for the ride. … Meanwhile, Trump was taking potshots at ‘Ron DeSanctimonious.’ In Georgia, Gov. Brian Kemp handily defeated Democratic darling Stacey Abrams, despite Trump’s personal attempts to defeat Kemp in his primary — again, due to Kemp’s failure to illegally flip the state to Trump in the 2020 election. Kemp is trusted by Georgians; he won.” —Ben Shapiro

“Tuesday has even diehard Trump supporters rethinking the future. Support within the MAGAverse on Twitter was shifting toward DeSantis even before the implosion of Republicans’ midterm hopes. Now the sentiment is spreading that DeSantis’ approach worked; Trump’s didn’t.” —Laura Hollis

“Trump is making a big mistake going after DeSantis, and he’s making a big mistake by running. He will lose.” —Marc Thiessen

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