Trump’s Dead Weight | OP-ED
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The 2022 midterms were the election cycle that may finally put former President Donald Trump out of politics for good.
Yes, he will announce a run for the Republican presidential nomination in 2024, but he won’t win if the party has anything to say about it.
Why? Outside of Florida, the Ohio Senate race, Nevada gubernatorial race, and a few other contests, Trump’s endorsed candidates competing in the general election fell to their Democratic competition by a combination of Democratic voters — a lot that are young — and moderate Republicans fed up with the former president’s awful rhetoric.
It’s a rhetoric that continues to sow doubt in the country’s election processes, erode its democracy, publicly get closer to white supremacy and fascist cells, and biggest of all for the 2022 midterms — send women’s rights back 50 years with the Supreme Court overturn of Roe v. Wade, striking down federal protections for abortions.
Where that baggage tied to Trump looked like a major strength back in June when Republicans celebrated their Roe coup — led by three new Trump-appointed justices — in the aftermath of the 2022 midterms, that same baggage is nothing but dead weight for the GOP.
2022 wasn’t normal
To understand the colossal failure that was the Republican Party during the 2022 midterms, look no further than any midterm election dating back to the 2002 midterm elections during President George W. Bush’s first term. That was the last time a president’s party gained or kept an advantage in both chambers of Congress after a midterm election.
Ever since, the common theme has been to see a president’s party lose at least one chamber of Congress in the midterms. Some dramatic recent examples include the second half of President Barack Obama’s first term, which saw Democrats lose a whopping 63 seats in the House of Representatives and allow the chamber to be flipped by Republicans.
Obama never had a unified Congress after that election as long as he was president — another five years — stymying much of the remainder of his progressive agenda that he couldn’t get passed in his first two years as president.
The other major flip to happen in recent times was in the 2018 midterms to Republican President Donald Trump, who lost 40 seats also in the House of Representatives, flipping the chamber and allowing Republicans to stonewall his extremist policies.
The narrative said much of the same going into the 2022 midterms, with President Joe Biden’s low popularity over issues like inflation and public safety dragging down Democratic candidates nationwide. They would be swept away by a ‘red wave’ proselytized by Republicans.
Except that’s not what happened.
Not only did Republicans lose a seat in the Senate thanks to John Fetterman’s victory over Trump-endorsed Dr. Mehmet Oz, but they will also likely lose ground as incumbent Democratic Georgia Senator Raphael Warnock looks poised to see off Trump-endorsed Hershel Walker in a runoff (results to be determined). It should also be mentioned that Latina Democratic incumbent Catherine Cortez Masto beat Trump-endorsed challenger Adam Laxalt in what was thought to be a surefire flip for Republicans in Nevada.
In the House, Republicans did gain ground, but it is to be determined if they will actually flip it. If they do, it will only be by between two and six seats. Before the election, Republicans and some not as right-favored analysts predicted as many as 60 flipped seats. Instead, it was the Democrats who showed the mettle to keep their seats and flip others.
As was the case in PA and Nevada, Trump-endorsed candidates lost across the board to Democratic challengers — add Arizona, Oregon and Ohio (in the House) to the list.
Even in Florida, which was the site of the only red wave in the country, Trump attacked the major spark of that movement in Governor Ron DeSantis.
Both will surely face off in the Republican primaries for president.