Former presidents and vice presidents have told us how psychologically difficult the first months of lost political power can be. So we can empathize if former President Trump is frustrated these days, and perhaps that explains his attack on us Thursday for his role in the GOP’s loss of the Senate.
“The Wall Street Journal editorial page knowingly continues to fight for globalist policies like bad trade deals, open borders, and never-ending wars that favor other countries and sell out our great American workers, and fight for RINOS that have hurt the Party so badly. Republican, ”Trump said in a statement. “That is where they are and that is where they will always be. Fortunately, nobody cares much about the editorial of The Wall Street Journal. “
For someone who says we don’t matter, they sure spend a lot of time reading and responding to us. Thanks for your attention.
What really seems to irritate Mar-a-Lago’s most famous resident is not his caricature of our political differences. It’s that we recognize the reality that Mr. Trump is the main reason Republicans lost two Georgia Senate elections in January, and therefore the majority of the Senate. Trump refuses to take responsibility for those defeats, contrary to all the evidence.
Trump’s statement blames the losses in Georgia on Republican Governor Brian Kemp and Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell. His fault on Kemp is that he did not fight enough to reverse the president’s loss of the state in November, a claim that Trump made the main theme of his campaign ahead of the Georgia Senate election on January 5.
All the polls showed that the best argument for electing the two Republicans was a check and balance against a fully Democratic government. But instead of telling voters that, Trump focused on his complaints against Kemp and his claims that the election was stolen. Trump told Republican voters that his November votes had made no sense, so it is not surprising that his turnout fell in January. As the FiveThirtyEight website found, “the better Trump did in a county in November, the more his turnout tended to decline” in January.
Trump also blames McConnell’s “refusal to exceed $ 600 per person in stimulus check payments when the two Democratic opponents were touting $ 2,000 per person in ad after ad.” This rewrites history.
Trump’s Treasury Secretary announced his support for the $ 600 checks on Dec. 8, and the Republican Party leaned toward the proposal. He didn’t pass the $ 2,000 checks until Dec. 22, giving Democrats a sword against the two Republican Senate candidates who had endorsed $ 600. The two eventually endorsed $ 2,000, but seemed unprincipled in doing so. Trump’s $ 2,000 flip-flop brought his own party’s candidates to the knee.
“Even more stupid,” Trump adds, “the Senate Republican National Committee spent millions of dollars on ineffective television ads starring Mitch McConnell.” That is also false. We are told that the Senate committee spent only about $ 90,000 on those ads that ran on national cable television to raise funds. They raised about $ 6 million that was later spent on advertisements in Georgia that featured Senate candidates, not Mr. McConnell.
We rehearse all of this because it matters to the future fortunes of the Republican Party. In Trump’s single term, Republicans lost the House, the White House, and finally the Senate. How can it be that everyone except the most prominent Republican in the country is responsible for the victories but not the defeats that have left the Republicans in the wilderness?
Losing to Joe Biden of all people, and by 7.1 million votes as incumbent president, must be painful. Counseling could be in order. Any good analyst will explain that the first step toward recovery is accepting reality. The same applies to Republican voters who want to win back Congress in 2022 and the White House in 2024.
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