Telling the truth was on the ballot at the recent Midterms, and the truth won. Trump-backed election deniers had a very bad night. “Mr. Trump endorsed five candidates in the most competitive home races in the country,” according to the non-partisan Cook Political Report’s assessments. “All five lost.” More importantly, “Any election denier trying to become the top election official in a battleground state, was defeated.”
Trump extremists running for Senate in Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Arizona and Nevada lost their races. High-profile election denier running for Arizona governor Kari Lake was also sent home. The only remaining Senate race involving an election denier, Herschel Walker, will not be decided until a December 6 runoff is held. Only candidates in Ohio and North Carolina blessed by Trump avoided obliteration by winning their Senate races. Being endorsed by Trump in 2022 was like receiving a sobriety award from your drunk uncle on Thanksgiving.
The disheartening Republican election results don’t mean denialism is dead. The MAGA crowd is still there and loyal to Trump, even in defeat. They don’t mind losing. They are anarchists at heart. The politics of revenge and victimhood drives their anger. victories be damned. More importantly, contempt for the elites in both parties who look down on them, and with good reason.
Going to a Trump rally for your lemmings is like playing a Cubs game for long-suffering Cubs fans. The fact that Trump was responsible for the Republican Party losing three consecutive election cycles doesn’t dampen their enthusiasm for him, nor does winning just one World Series in the last 114 years discouraged fans of the “lovable losers” from Pack up Wrigley Set up. Cubs announcer Jack Brickhouse summed up the Cubbie fans’ extraordinary patience when he said, “Any team can have a bad century.”
While we certainly won’t be the last of Trump, given his recent announcement that he will run again in 2024, we may be witnessing a rejection of Republican candidates by moderate and independent voters guilty of political misconduct by voting their Campaigns based on information given them by a QAnon research team.
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Trump will never break away from denial. It is his lifeline to an alternate reality he invented based on alternate facts that offer him immunity from responsibility for his mountain of mistakes. As he said deadpan to a reporter before the midterms who asked him who was responsible for the result: “Well, I think if they win I should get all the credit. And if they lose, I shouldn’t be blamed at all.” Spoken like a real card-carrying member of the National Association of Clinically Certified Narcissists.
Trump was not showered with congratulatory applause on election night, but rather blamed by the chattering class for the fact that the Republicans had little to celebrate. Even more revealing for Trump is the fact that the media mogul, who has allowed Fox News to operate as the Trump network for the past seven years, appears poised to sever ties with him. Rupert Murdoch ran an election night headline in his New York Post in which he used the word “defuture” to commemorate Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ landslide victory. He also chastised Trump for supporting so many losing candidates with a banner that read “Trumpty Dumpty.”
Murdoch has apparently concluded that Trump’s hold on his network’s viewers has waned to the point that now is the time for his media empire to decouple the Fox brand from the Trump brand. He’s not alone. Fat Cat collaborators from previous campaigns, such as Ronald Lauder, the billionaire heir to Estée Lauder’s cosmetics kingdom, have been reluctant to fund Trump’s candidacy until 2024 still two years away.
Nor does it bode well for Trump when the editorial board of The Wall Street Journal, the New Testament of capitalism and required reading for the Republican Party’s wealthiest donors, publishes a headline: “Trump is the Republican Party’s biggest loser.” The master of disaster, the ruler of chaos, is beginning to look like a troubled bank whose depositors are concerned about the safety of their deposits.
The Republican Party will have to decide whether it wants the 2024 presidential campaign to be a coming-of-age, which Trump is no doubt committed to, or a positive vision for the future, which is likely to be needed for the party to win. Backing a candidate who once ran on Make America Great Again but now wants to go back to the White House so he can’t be sent to the Big House is probably not your best move.
Jay Wissot lives in Denver and Vail. Email him at [email protected].