Normies > Crazies
The GOP starts to realize Trump is a LOSER
Warnings against irrational exuberance are in order. But happy Schadenfreude Week for all who celebrate.
In today’s morning Shots: The Murdoch-Trump breakup; the 2024 fallout, and a caravan of bad punditry.
But let’s start with the GOP’s sobering (but perhaps temporary) realization that there are, in fact, consequences of truckling toadyism, extremism, and crazy.
In today’s Bulwark, Tim Miller highlights the divergence between the GOP’s remaining “normies” and Trump’s MAGA losers.
Across the country—at least everywhere north of the DeSantis-Dixon line—the normies held serve. Voters split their ticket, backing the least-Trumpy GOP governors at huge margins over their ticket-mates who were more comfortable in Steve Bannon’s War Room. In New Hampshire, Chris Sununu ran 25 points ahead of The General; in Ohio, Mike DeWine ran 18 points ahead of Vance; and, as I reported would happen, in Georgia, Brian Kemp ran 8 points ahead of Herschel Walker.
Voters rejected the election deniers, the candidates who planned to institute a radically more repressive abortion regime, and the wild-eyed loons that the former president had foisted upon the electorate during the primary season. (As it turns out, the Arizona governor’s race that colored my perception might just be the exception that proves the rule; as of this writing, it remains too close to call.)
Peter Meijer, who lost a primary to John Gibbs, a far-right Trump loon who lost to Democrat Hillary Scholten on Tuesday, makes the same point to Blake Hounshell
The voters, Meijer said, showed convincingly that they preferred “Team Normal” over “Team Crazy.” He pointed to centrist governors like Jared Polis, Democrat of Colorado, and Mike DeWine, Republican of Ohio, who “had a proven ability to manage and find solutions to the problems that their constituents were facing.”….
Then there were Republican candidates like Don Bolduc in New Hampshire, who tried to walk back his claims that Democrats stole the 2020 election from Trump and who spent his campaign’s precious final days arguing with reporters over a hoax story about kids using kitty litter boxes in schools.
As for them, Meijer said, “It turns out when you start off on Team Crazy, it’s a lot harder to make the argument that all the things you were saying passionately for months and months and months were really just — don’t pay any attention.”
Here’s GOP pollster Frank Luntz this morning:
The people I talked to over the last 24 hours have essentially said enough, Donald Trump. Enough of this chaos. Enough of the yelling and screaming. They look at the U.S. Senate and they’re mad at the former president. They think he supported the wrong candidates. His endorsement still matters within the GOP, but they’re frustrated because they think he is supporting candidates that are simply un-electable, and we have seen this across the country.
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The Murdoch-Trump Divorce?
Rupert Murdoch has, apparently, seen enough. Here’s the cover of today’s NY Post:
What Tuesday night’s results suggest is that Trump is perhaps the most profound vote-repellant in modern American history.
The surest way to lose in these midterms was to be a politician endorsed by Trump.
This is not hyperbole.
Except for deep red states where a Republican corpse would have beaten a Democrat, voters choosing in actually competitive races — who everyone expected would behave like midterm voters usually do and lean toward the out party — took one look at Trump’s hand-picked acolytes and gagged.
Meanwhile, over on Fox News:
Last night, even Laura Ingraham seemed to take a poke at the Orange One:
Going to 2024, the Republicans are going to be looking for candidates who are focused on winning – not just making a point or settling a score. So, to really change it, we’re gonna have to win and we have to win over voters outside our traditional base. That means young people, too.
That’s got to be the goal for the next presidential election. The populist movement is about ideas. It is not about any one person. If the voters conclude that you’re putting your own ego or your own grudges ahead of what’s good for the country, they’re going to look elsewhere, period.
And, lest the message isn’t clear enough, the GOP donor class woke up to this editorial in The Wall Street Journal: “Trump Is the Republican Party’s Biggest Loser: He has now flopped in 2018, 2020, 2021 and 2022. ”
Trumpy Republican candidates failed at the ballot box in states that were clearly winnable. This can’t be what Mr. Trump was envisioning ahead of his “very big announcement” next week. Yet maybe the defeats are what the party needs to hear before 2024.
It’s hard to express how much Trump hates all of this, or how obsessed he is with the contrasting success of Ron DeSantis. Yesterday, he reacted this way…
… which is… just pathetic? And then we got this middle-of-the-night ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE rant:
…which is just… unhinged? (But you knew that.)
A caution against irrational exuberance
A smart and sober caution from the New Yorker’s Susan Glasser, who reminds us that “it’s still entirely possible that the initial Election Night jubilation from Democrats and Trump-skeptical Republicans might prove to be just as short-lived as all the other times when the end of Trump seemed to be at hand—and wasn’t.”
Glasser also reminds us that even relatively good election showings can have consequences.
The biggest immediate problem for Biden and the Democrats, however, is that a win for the Republicans, even if it’s not a wave, is still a win.
A one-vote margin in the House would still give subpoena power to Jim Jordan as the chair of the House Judiciary Committee. It would still mean the difference between Biden being able to advance his legislative agenda with a Democratic Speaker or the impossibility of doing so with a Republican one. A narrow Republican majority in the House might even further empower the crazies in the chamber, making a Speaker Kevin McCarthy beholden to the Trumpian extremists’ every whim if he does not want to be deposed by them—if, that is, McCarthy is even able to win the Speakership.
Failure to Launch?
You hate to see it: “Trump urged to delay 2024 launch after GOP’s uneven election.”
Some allies were calling on Trump to delay his planned announcement next week, saying the party’s full focus needs to be on Georgia, where Trump-backed football great Herschel Walker’s effort to unseat Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock is headed to a runoff that could determine control of the Senate once again.
“I’ll be advising him that he move his announcement until after the Georgia runoff,” said former Trump adviser Jason Miller, who spent the night with the former president at his Mar-a-Lago club in Florida.
A caravan of bad takes
In yesterday’s Triad, JVL highlighted some of the bad punditry from Conservatism inc. starting with Hugh Hewitt’s relentless wrongness. But he was hardly alone.
Herewith a rough sample of punditry gone wrong: (Hat tip to Mehdi Hassan.)
Jesse Watters: We are looking at a historic massive red wave coming
Midterm Predictions: The ‘Red Tsunami’ Comes into View Once More
Newsweek: A Red Wave is Coming. The Only Question is How High It Will Be
NY Post: New York Red Wave is coming ashore
The Hill: How the impending red wave could become a tsunami
Ted Cruz: Cruz predicts 'not just a red wave, but a red tsunami' for Republicans on Election Day
BONUS: Enjoy this montage when you have time and popcorn.
Here's what I imagine is the conversation within the GOP behind closed doors:
One group: We have to move away from Trump before he destroys the party.
Second group: If we dump Trump it will piss off the MAGAts and they will destroy the party.
One group: The MAGAts will be happy enough to back DeSantis.
Third group: (Hawley, Cruz, Cotton with presidential ambitions of their own) - No, I don't think they will.
Fourth group: (Lindsey Graham) - If we dump Trump he will destroy the party.
Second group: If we dump Trump, he will go to war with DeSantis and us, and keep the majority of the MAGAts on his side, and against us.
All groups: We didn't have a bad night Tuesday, it's just that the Democrats didn't have the bad night we thought (hoped) they would. We're fine. We've probably taken over the House, and nothing has really changed in the Senate. We can win with Trump and the MAGAt base in 2024. And if we're really lucky, God will intervene. Trump will either die in his sleep due to his age and eating habits, or Garland will indict and send him to prison, keeping our hands clean with MAGAts while we scream POLITICAL WITCH HUNT. Either way, works for us.
Murdoch's Flagship finally got around to an idea I put on a sign during the Reign of Pain (2017-2020) which I carried at the US Consulate in Frankfurt, Germany. Admittedly, it did not reflect this week's implosion, but was actual at the time:
WANTS A BIG WALL
IS IN FOR A FALL
ALL VLAD’S HACKERS
AND ALL VLAD’S SPIES
CAN’T MAKE TRUTH
OUTTA TRUMPTY’S LIES