Earlier in the week, we noted that it appeared that Donald Trump was losing his fastball in calling Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, a potential rival in 2024, “Ron DeSanctimonious.” After nearly every one of his handpicked candidates in the House and Senate lost on Tuesday, potentially keeping a Republican majority in the House very small and likely giving away the Senate (again), some conservatives are saying it might be time to go to the mound and take the ball from him.
On Tuesday, “normal” conservative Republicans won big. Ron DeSantis in Florida, Mark DeWine in Ohio, and Chris Sununu in New Hampshire all won their states by double digits, showing that conservatism without Trump was a winning message.
The results on Tuesday allegedly left Trump “livid,” causing him to “scream at everyone.”
The problem the former president has is that without power, he has shown no ability to try and build a movement again. For example, he claimed in an interview that he would only accept accolades for Republican wins, but would not take responsibility for any losses.
A real quote from Donald Trump about tonight’s results:
"Well, I think if they win, I should get all the credit. If they lose, I should not be blamed at all."
— Matt Wilstein (@mattwilstein) November 8, 2022
It’s hard to follow a leader like that.
Trump also appears to be looking for someone to blame for his losses, and he’s even pointing the finger at Melania. Fox News writes, “New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman, known for her access to Trump and his orbit, tweeted Wednesday, “Trump is indeed furious this morning, particularly about Mehmet Oz, and is blaming everyone who advised him to back Oz – including his wife, describing it as not her best decision, according to people close to him.”
“There are people pushing Trump to reschedule his announcement next week, and several Rs have texted asking whether he will, but it’s risky and would be acknowledging he’s wounded by yesterday, something that some of his advisers insist is not the case,” she added. “Worth remembering that Trump is a grown man who endorsed Oz over the objection of some of the people closest to him, and instead went beyond just endorsing and attacked Dave McCormick from the stage at a rally.”
Trump-backed candidates in critical races across the country lost or lagged behind other Republicans in their states, and pundits across the spectrum have said Trump had a brutal night for his political brand.
Many conservatives are fuming at Trump over the results in the midterms, which they viewed as a missed opportunity for sweeping pickups given President Biden’s low approval ratings and record inflation.
Oz may be the most embarrassing because he lost to a stroke victim who can barely talk, but he wasn’t the only Trump choice who petered out. In New Hampshire, Republicans lost a Senate race despite that state voting for its Republican governor overwhelmingly. HuffPo reported, “Donald Trump said Don Bolduc, the Republican U.S. Senate candidate he backed in New Hampshire, lost Tuesday because he eventually “disavowed” the former president’s false election fraud claims.
Despite a recent endorsement from Trump, Bolduc fell to Democratic incumbent Maggie Hassan on a night when Republicans’ hopes of dominating fizzled.
Trump did his dancing best to distance himself from the defeat.
“Don Bolduc was a very nice guy, but he lost tonight when he disavowed, after his big primary win, his longstanding stance on Election Fraud in the 2020 Presidential Primary,” Trump wrote on Truth Social, per Mediaite. “Had he stayed strong and true, he would have won easily. Lessons Learned!!!””
The former president really is convinced that Americans want to spend their time relitigating why he lost in 2020 rather than focus on the future, the economy, their children’s schools, infrastructure, abortion, or the countless other issues that ordinary people care about.
Earlier in the week, when Republicans looked like they were going to sweep to victory, Trump told a crowd in Ohio that he would have a “big announcement” next week. Now his staff seems to be hold its breath.
Two people close to the former president told CNN that “he backed himself into a corner by publicly setting a date for his expected campaign announcement before the outcome of the midterm elections was known, something he did at an Ohio campaign rally on election eve to compromise with allies who did not want him to use the event as the launch site for his campaign.”
‘We’ve got to figure out how to get it back before next Tuesday,’ the Trump adviser added, referring to the ‘big announcement’ Trump has teased for November 15, when he is expected to formally declare his third campaign for the White House. DeSantis’ strength was reflected in CNN exit polls on Tuesday, which showed the Republican governor exceeding President Joe Biden’s 2020 margin of victory among Latino voters in Florida and maintaining a small edge among independents, which Biden carried in the state by 11 points two years ago.
Both data points could prove compelling GOP primary between DeSantis and Trump, who made inroads with Black and Hispanic voters in some 2020 states but not to the degree of the Florida Republican.”
On Tuesday night, Ron DeSantis looked like he was inclined to run for president. During his victory speech, the Florida governor looked ready for a fight.
Some Republicans have been frustrated with President Trump. “In an episode of his podcast, “Verdict with Ted Cruz,” that aired on Monday, Cruz lamented that Trump had spent “almost none” of his massive cash reserves in key Senate races, arguing that it should be up to the former president to provide crucial air cover for candidates whom he has endorsed,” according to The Hill.
“I will say by the way I wish Trump was spending some of his money,” Cruz said. “Trump’s got $100 million and he’s spending almost none of it to support these candidates.”
With Trump’s picks mostly going down in flames and some of his allies, like Lauren Boebert, losing House seats, many conservative writers and activists appear to have had enough of Trump. They’re pinning Tuesday’s poor results clearly on the former president.
Trump picked sure losers in winnable races.
He picked weak candidates in otherwise slam dunk races requiring the party to spend tons of money we'd rather spend elsewhere.
Of, and speaking of money, he hoovered up tens of millions and barely spent a dime to help Rs.
— Gregg Nunziata (@greggnunziata) November 9, 2022
Last night was not a referendum on Democrats' excellence in governance; it was a referendum on Republicans lack of seriousness. Democrats will misread this and keep doubling down. So if Republicans get serious and drop the frivolous bulls***, 2024 could look very different. IF.
— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) November 9, 2022
A bunch of people who bent over backwards to ingratiate themselves to Trump under performed last night. The one Republican candidate Trump attacked with one of his lamest nicknames ever won by almost 20 points in Florida. Act accordingly.
Or don’t. Not my problem anymore.
— Leon Wolf 🇺🇦 (@LeonHWolf) November 9, 2022
Begging Republicans to “Wake up,” Yuval Levin conveyed the prevailing new wisdom at National Review: “For Republicans, it should be clearer than ever that they have trouble reaching potentially winnable swing voters because of the unhinged appearance and revolting character of the party’s Trump-era incarnation. It is easier to see how that could change, though that does not mean such change will be easy to pull off.
The pattern of Republican wins and losses on Tuesday was not random, and its message is not hard to discern. It presents itself as a blinking, blaring, screaming sign that reads “Republicans: Trump is your problem.” In Georgia and in Ohio, Republican candidates for governor who were not closely associated with Trump ran far ahead of Republican candidates for Senate who were. Many voters were clearly willing to split their tickets. It is painfully evident that Republicans would have had a far easier time winning Senate seats in Pennsylvania, Arizona, Nevada, New Hampshire and elsewhere if they had not chosen the Trump-endorsed candidate in the primary.
The relatively disappointing result for Republicans has a clear cause, and maybe it will finally move Republicans to abandon the ridiculous notion that Donald Trump is an electoral advantage for the party. Sustaining that view has always required painful contortions — the (implausible) view that Trump’s exceedingly narrow win over Hillary Clinton in 2016 was the only way any Republican could have beaten the most unpopular political figure in 21st-century America; the (bizarre) notion that Republican setbacks in 2018 were a function of Mitch McConnell or Paul Ryan not being Trumpy enough; the (delusional) claim that Trump didn’t actually lose the presidency in 2020. Here’s a hint.
It is far from clear that Republicans will take the hint, and will finally grasp that Trumpism isn’t only terrible civics (which is reason enough to reject it) but also terrible politics. Missing the obvious is a common political vice, as both parties keep proving. But they do have less and less of an excuse.”
The sound you’re hearing might be the alarm bell ringing.