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Saturday, November 12, 2022

GOP: Don’t Blame Trump, Blame Yourselves

The votes haven’t all been counted yet so that which party will control the House of Representatives remains unclear.  The Senate is officially blue, however. What is known is that the nearly unanimous expected “red wave” did not materialize. In fact, the only red seen is the color of the faces of those embarrassed pundits, right wing media, and other Republican cheerleaders who confidently predicted otherwise.

Instead of the “bloodbath” that Donnie Dipshit, Jr. declared on Twitter on election night, the Dems will likely hold the Senate and perhaps increase their position by an extra seat pending the outcome of the Georgia runoff on December 6. They have a steep climb to retain their majority in the House but the Democrats are still mathematically in it. Even if they don’t quite get there, the GOP will be in control but with the slightest of margins, which will give them political migraines for at least two years. Donald Trump, Jr.’s tweet did not age well.

But Junior was not alone. No Republican (or Democrat for that matter) predicted this shocker.  To be clear, the polls leading up to Election Day (now Week) indicated that inflation and the economy was the number one issue and that would, as well as historical precedent, gerrymandering and the unpopularity of the president, be a burden on the party in power.

It didn’t.

Rather, the Republican controlled Supreme Court’s decision in the Dobbs case that essentially overturned Roe v. Wade angered women and young people. Democrats also realized how our democracy was on the ballot as hundreds of election deniers and conspiracy nuts were running for offices at all levels.

They voted in great numbers their fury at the SCOTUS ruling and in the need to protect democracy. Republicans incorrectly assumed that Dobbs was sufficiently distanced in the rear-view mirror, as well as the horrors of January 6 and that the energy would fade. The predicted red wave would wash over the country; just a lot of embarrassment and finger pointing resulted instead.

Then there was the Trump effect. The former president was not on the ballot, but he might as well have been. He encouraged potential candidates at all levels who were mini-Trumps and who bended their knees to him to run in primaries. To be sure, these weren’t the best candidates the Republican Party could have recruited, e.g., Herschel Walker. Cringing at this roster, party leaders crossed their fingers that the red wave would be too strong, and that inflation would trump the inexperience, incompetence and extremism that the mini-Trumps possessed.

Most lost their elections, not just in Congress but gubernatorial races, state legislatures and secretaries of state candidates were defeated. There were some victories, of course, but not enough to propel a red wave.

So, with eggs on their faces, the humbled and humiliated Republican establishment has finally begun to recognize that Donald Trump is an albatross. After all, he has been linked to Congressional losses in 2018, lost the presidential race and Senate in 2020 and now may have contributed to thwarting the red wave.

With Governor Ron DeSantis’ crushing victory in Florida, he instantly became the new darling of the party in some quarters. Seeing a replacement for Trump as the leader of the party on the horizon, some Republicans and right-wing media, such as FOX News, the Wall Street Journal and the New York Post have cast the loser label on Trump and are edging away from him. They are blaming him for the failure to capitalize on rising prices and an unpopular president.

Certainly, much of the blame should be leveled at Trump. He chose, endorsed and appeared at rallies on behalf of loyalists to him rather than qualified, competent candidates. Mehmet Oz’s defeat to John Fetterman in Pennsylvania that swung a former Republican seat into the Dem column was the singular most crushing example. Herschel Walker will be next come December.

However, the Republicans have themselves to blame for allowing Trump to go unfettered around the country choosing these people. Even Mitch McConnell, the Senate Minority Leader, cringed at the lack of “candidate quality”. 

It started during the 2016 primaries when Trump made frequent racist and misogynous comments. He degraded John McCain and a Gold Star family, made fun of a disabled reporter and proceeded from there while president to the disgusting remarks surrounding Charlottesville where both sides including Nazis and KKK members contained “very fine people.”

Then there was the deadly violent insurrection in which Trump summoned and incited a mob to prevent the constitutionally mandated certification of votes at the Capitol on January 6.  Additionally, he participated in a fake elector scheme and in effect, tried to launch a coup.

After initial outrage by some Republicans to these events, they tried to whitewash them and hope that time would pass and that the insurrectionists were to be seen as tourists having a bad hair day. Heck, they wouldn’t even go along with a bipartisan commission to investigate the insurrection.

Thus, they let Trump with his 74 million votes he garnered to run the party. At the second impeachment trial that focused on Trump, Mitch McConnell could have easily whipped votes to convict Trump (he put the blame squarely on Trump during a post-impeachment speech) so that he would be automatically disqualified to run for federal office again. He wimped out.

Image: cartoonmovement.com
Now, the new dilemma for Republicans is Trump’s impending announcement to run again for president in 2024. They don’t want him to make such a declaration at least until the December 6 runoff. But Trump needs to act fast because he knows, as well as many legal observers, that indictments will be handed down in short order. He wants the cover of being a candidate to claim the indictments are partisan. It appears that’s his only defense.

The Republicans’ empowering him because of their fear of his base and allowing Trump to run loose to hand pick his sycophants in these midterm elections is the price one pays. It’s like allowing an unrestrained dog to roam your house only to find that he chewed on the furniture. Do you blame the dog or yourself for providing him the opportunity to do what dogs do?

It’s on you, Republicans, not Trump.


I was in the minority, but back in May, I wrote a piece describing why the doom of the Democrats may be avoided in these midterms. You can read it here.

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