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Trump’s the loser as GOP falters

Thought Leader: Josh Kraushaar
November 9, 2022
Source: Axios

Former President Trump is facing waves of blame after key Republican candidates lost in midterms.

The big picture: There was no red wave. As of this morning, control of the Senate is undetermined, but appears to be leaning toward Democrats. The House is headed for a very narrow GOP majority, but is also uncalled.

Why it matters: Regardless of the reality with GOP primary voters, Republican elites — and other anti-Trump Republicans — sense blood in the water. There’s an increased likelihood of a larger, more boisterous primary field competing against Trump in 2024.

What happened: Many of former President Trump’s handpicked candidates were defeated or struggled in otherwise winnable races — a lineup of underachievers.

The intrigue: Trump’s planned rally at Mar-a-Lago next Tuesday, where he’s expected to announce a 2024 presidential campaign, now won’t come after a GOP landslide.

What he said: Trump said in a TruthSocial post on Wednesday that the election “was somewhat disappointing,” but “from my personal standpoint it was a very big victory.”

Between the lines: Trump constrained his party’s coalition in states where he showed up. In Pennsylvania, Senate victor John Fetterman won independents with 57% of the vote, Hispanics with 67% of the vote and women with 57% of the vote, according to exit polling.

By contrast, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ resounding re-election was one of the few bright spots for Republicans.

What to watch: DeSantis wants to run badly and will argue he has similar beliefs to Trump — but can deliver much bigger, broader wins.

The bottom line: Trump’s promotion of candidates outside the political mainstream — or celebrities without political experience — proved to be costly for Republicans. DeSantis’ Florida model offers Republicans an alternative path. But Trump won’t let the party move on without a fight.

House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy had been expected to take the stage of his election-night party at a D.C. hotel as early as 10 p.m.

At 1:59 a.m., McCarthy finally declared from the stage: “It is clear we are going to take the House back.”

Editor’s note: This version updates results.

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