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Reblogged:Trump Lost Two Mid-Terms in a Row

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An Early Weekend/Post-Election Roundup

There will be no post tomorrow as I am taking Veteran's Day off.


1. Tuesday was a good day for reproductive freedom and should serve as a warning to "pro life" Republicans who might actually want to win public office in a competitive race. Three measures favoring abortion rights passed, one anti-abortion measure lost, and another anti-abortion measure appeared to be headed for defeat.

Tellingly, abortion was likely a drag on the GOP:
Abortion ranked as the second-most important issue to midterm voters at 27%, according to an Edison Research exit poll. The only issue deemed more pressing, by 31% of respondents, was inflation.
Polling data indicate that among the groups for whom abortion or inflation was the biggest issue, the former broke more strongly for Democrats than the latter for Republicans.

2. And speaking of drags on the GOP, Axios looked at the electoral fortunes of Trump's hand-picked election deniers, meaning we have a ceiling figure for how many seats that part of his meddling will have cost the GOP in "key races."

That said, the number of Republicans who have at least paid lip-service to that aspect of Trump's kookiness is disappointing:
At least 80 Republicans who questioned the 2020 election results won seats in the House last night -- cementing a sizable MAGA caucus, Axios Andrew Solender reports.
I suppose we can hope many of these were simply pandering...

So far, in key congressional and gubernatorial races, fourteen such candidates have lost and twenty-six are undecided. This means that by this measure alone, Trump has potentially caused the GOP to lose as many as eight governorships, 25 House seats, and four Senate seats. He has also already cost the GOP one secretary of state, and may cause them to lose four more.

One conservative pundit has correctly likened Trump to an electoral can of Raid, and Ira Stoll has a good piece on midterm takeaways that states -- bluntly and with data to back himself up -- that "Donald Trump is a drag in a general election in purple states."

3. But the above figures don't do Trump's damage justice. The following, from a Steve Malanga piece at City Journal captures some of what Bastiat might call the unseen costs:
Two contrasting facts help sum up the election. Charlie Baker, a Republican recently ranked as the country's most popular governor, decided not to seek re-election after Trump's promise to recruit a candidate to challenge him in the GOP primary. Meantime, Democrat Tony Evers in Wisconsin, with the lowest favorability rating among incumbents running for reelection yesterday, won against yet another GOP candidate strongly backed by the ex-president. [bold added]
In addition to Trump's hand-picked losers, how many likely winners did he cause to sit out?

4. Finally, speaking of winners, the big winner Tuesday was Ron DeSantis, who now beats Trump in betting markets for next U.S. President. David Frum argues at The Atlantic that DeSantis has a short time window to move if he wants to run for President:
As someone who, like Trump, can give a nickname that sticks, I have to say his "DeSanctimonious" reeks of desperation: It is too long, it's inaccurate, and it makes fun of what passes for being principled these days. Americans miss the last. (Image by The Office of the Governor of Florida, via Wikimedia Commons, public domain.)
If DeSantis is in the game now, he has to play now.

That doesn't have to mean fighting Trump the way Liz Cheney or Evan McMullin have fought him. Many might wish that rank-and-file Republicans felt more shame and regret for January 6 than they do. But they don't. They do want to win -- and they can be convinced that Trump is out of date, out of touch, and out of shape. Somebody who seeks to replace Trump atop the Republican Party cannot pretend Trump is not there. Trump is a huge personality who makes every contest a battle of personalities. Refusing to engage is not an option, because he will engage whether his target likes it or not. There's no choice except to engage in turn.

So: man or mouse? DeSantis's answer will shape the future not only of the Republican Party but of America. [bold added]
I have asked a similar question of DeSantis regarding that other drag on the GOP, abortion.

And I do agree that DeSantis has a short time window: He is popular largely for having kept Florida relatively open during the pandemic, defying Trump and left-wing ninnies alike. Sadly for him, much of the public has the memory of gnats, and that might not help him run after 2024.

-- CAV

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