Friday, September 22, 2023

Trump angered Republicans after the midterms

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Shreya Christina
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Donald Trump had a terrible, terrible, not-good, very bad day on Tuesday, and so did most of his fellow Republicans.

The former president saw several candidates he personally intervened in the Republican primaries to endorse fall short — a number that could be all the difference in Senate control — as potential primary rival Ron DeSantis battled for victory for a second in 2024. term as governor of Florida.

Trump had taken steps in the days before the election to tease the launch of a presidential campaign next week at Mar-a-Lago, the former president’s private club in Palm Beach. Rather than launching his campaign on the heels of a red wave sweeping through American politics, however, it will take place in the wake of a much more laudable election performance.

Following Tuesday’s results, Fox News and the New York Post were hyped for DeSantis as prominent MAGA Republicans expressed dismay at Trump’s attempts to belittle DeSantis on his social media network. Former Trump adviser Jason Miller went so far as to go on the right-wing TV network Newsmax and claim that Trump should delay his planned campaign announcement, a move that would presumably limit any further reference to Trump.

Agents within the party complained publicly and especially privately about how Trump arbitrarily intervened in primaries, put forward weak candidates, and saw a rare moment of political vulnerability for the former president.

In particular, Republicans pointed to Trump’s interference in the Pennsylvania Senate race, where Trump had backed television doctor Mehmet Oz over hedge fund CEO David McCormick. The race is likely to be the only senate for Democrats in 2022, after Republicans believed Democrat John Fetterman was politically vulnerable after suffering a massive stroke before the primary. In Georgia, Trump’s selected Senate candidate Herschel Walker stands for second in the Senate, while other Republicans statewide, many of whom tried to beat Trump in a primary, won decisively.

The question now is whether Trump will finally pay a heavy price for political malfeasance, after his supporters let him get away with personal malfeasance for years, culminating in his bid to undo a 2020 presidential election and the January 6, 2021. attack on the Capitol.

Ever since Trump descended the now infamous golden escalator in 2015 to announce his presidential candidacy, many established Republicans across the party have quietly loathed him and desperate for a chance to get rid of him, but their voters are always intervened to scare them into resignation. Trump ended up paying zero political fees for his personal attacks about former Arizona Senator John McCain. Months after the announcement, huh chose a fight with Megyn Kelly, who was one of Fox News’ biggest personalities at the time. He won that primary and she now has a podcast. He endured the Admission to Hollywood tape and scandal after presidential scandal and multiple accusations. Yet the Republicans’ allegiance was steadfast and their rebukes were fleeting.

Trump has even managed to undermine Republicans’ chances in general elections. After Republicans suffered major losses in the Virginia governor’s race in 2017 and lost the House in the 2018 midterm elections, Trump persevered. This continued through the 2020 presidential election, where Trump trailed most other Republicans on the ballot.

Will this be the moment that changes? Trump has been criticized for all those failures and weaknesses in the past, until the party determined he was still crucial to their success. This is the first time since the 2016 primary, where Trump took on Ted Cruz, that there is a viable alternative to him as GOP leader in DeSantis — not to mention a host of other potential 2024 candidates waiting in the wings like Glenn Youngkin, Tim Scott and Mike Pence.

The question is whether anyone can replace Trump as long as he maintains his stranglehold on the Republican base. Despite all the criticism for the weak general election performance of the candidates he promoted in the primaries, they won their primaries and did so solely on Trump’s support. Still, Tuesday’s lackluster results indicate that Trump may have crossed a line too much. He was a loser.

One of the last times Republicans purged a toxic figure in their party, Republican Rep. Steve King of Iowa, was not alone because King had embraced white nationalism. King was removed from his committee duties after he took a . had told New York Times reporter, “White Nationalist, White Supremacist, Western Civilization – How Did That Language Become Offensive?” But that came after a long history of abusive comments and flirts with the far right. But King had nearly lost a safe Republican district in western Iowa this time in 2018 and turned out to be a political liability in 2020. It was clear that he was doing concrete political damage and the cost of removing him from the party was worth it.

Donald Trump is a former president, not a backseat member of Congress from Iowa. But it’s clear that the calculus among Republicans has shifted about what he’s offering the party in 2024, or at least they’re seriously considering whether it’s shifted enough.

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