The failure of Republicans and Trump-chosen candidates to capitalize on the midterms reveals Trump’s fundamental weakness in electoral politics.
It was supposed to be so easy. That was what Republicans and pollsters across the nation told us: the GOP would easily wash over the House and Senate with a red wave that would wash away the Democrats’ control of the legislature; it had to be that way. With record-high inflation, the ‘real’ Americans would come to take their country back, and Trump would return triumphantly. We were told that, and it has proven to be a remarkable farce. With the incredibly weak display by the GOP in the ongoing midterms, the party of Trump is increasingly looking like the party of failure.
Despite his claims of intense strength as the leader of the Republican Party, the results on Tuesday have been a complete disaster for the former President. In key Trump-supported races, failure after failure hit the GOP. Trump endorsed candidate Doug Mastriano, the GOP’s far-right candidate for Pennsylvania Governor, lost by a massive 13 points, which served as a firm rejection of the Trump vision for the party. Lee Zeldin, Trump endorsed candidate for New York Governor, suffered a similar fate, albeit less one-sided fate, winning with roughly 52. 8 percent of the vote.
Across the board, gubernatorial races in Kansas, Michigan, Maine, New Mexico, and Wisconsin all went to the Democrats. As of writing, Arizona and Oregon are currently being led by Democrats, with Nevada being the only state to show the Republican candidate leading the race. Of course, Texas and Georgia’s gubernatorial races went to the Republicans, but overall, Republicans have seriously underperformed when it comes to electing governors.
On the Senate side, things were not much better. After John Fetterman defeated GOP candidate Mehemet Oz, Trump reportedly lost it on his colleagues, blaming Melania for his decision to endorse the controversial celebrity doctor. Despite suffering nonstop propaganda about a stroke he had from Republicans, Fetterman, a seemingly unlikely candidate when compared to more establishment Democrats, managed to win by 3 points, sending the doctor packing. The count of seats held by both parties is 48 to 48, with Georgia heading to a run-off and Arizona leaning toward a Democratic victory.
Even in the House, where Trump and the GOP expected to see large leads have underperformed and failed to gain the lead they hoped to despite having an 84 in 100 chance of taking the House.
Such success would not be surprising when considering how the President’s party tends to lose seats in the House and Senate. In 2010, the Democratic Party led by then-President Obama lost 63 seats in the House and 6 seats in the Senate. In 2018, Trump’s GOP lost 40 seats in the House. Clinton lost 52 seats in 1994, gaining some seats in the Senate,, much like Trump. The only exception to this pattern would be George W. Bush, who benefited from a rally around the flag movement after 9/11 amid the public’s desire for revenge.
And yet, the GOP’s leads in the House are, thus far, a disappointment. Starting with 212 seats in the House, Republicans thus far have only secured 207 seats, according to The New York Times, and several seats are still up for grabs. Lauren Boebert, the pro-Trump Republican Congresswoman from Colorado’s 3rd Congressional district, is currently in the fight of her life to maintain her seat, despite being an incumbent.
While it is unlikely that Democrats will keep the House, the close nature of Boebert’s race combined with the narrow majority Republicans have thus far secured is indicative of the lackluster state of the GOP under Trump’s leadership.
Even with the Biden administration’s approval rating sitting at an average of 41 percent, Trump and the Republicans failed to capitalize on the opportunity that covid and inflation have provided. And if this is any indication of how Republicans will do in 2024, GOP operatives should be very concerned. And Trump, though he has rarely ever listened to reason, should reconsider his plans to announce his run for President next week.