While votes are still being counted in several key races, at this point, we can safely say that the “red wave” many pollsters and pundits predicted for 2022 midterm elections was more like a pink trickle.
And speaking of word pairings that make you feel vaguely queasy, many postmortem analyses of the GOP’s disappointing performance are placing the blame squarely on one man: Donald Trump.
Yes, there was a time when it looked as though the Donald would never loosen his grip on his party’s nether regions but as Republican leadership struggles to make sense of a humiliating day at the polls, much has been made of the fact that Trump-backed candidates performed poorly.
The question now is — what does this mean for the party’s future?
After all, it was just last week that Trump teased an ecstatic rally crowd with the prospect of running for president again in 2024.
“And now in order to make our country successful and safe and glorious — I will very, very, very probably do it again,” Trump told an enthusiastic MAGA crowd in Sioux Falls.
The former president went on to hint at a “big announcement” on November 15.
Now, that would be a very early announcement for a 2024 candidacy, but Trump’s not exactly a conventional politician.
There was a time, not all that long ago, when Republican leadership would’ve been psyched about the prospect of a Trump v Biden rematch.
Circa 2021, the very thought of such a contest might’ve been enough to bring a smile to the face of Mitch McConnell, an event that usually only occurs when the Kentucky senator happens upon a small animal caught in a painful trap.
These days, however, it seems GOP leadership would do just about anything to get Trump to step aside and endorse a more electable candidate like Florida governor Ron DeSantis.
“Never forget. Trump picked sure losers in winnable races,” Gregg Nunziata, a former member of Senator Marco Rubio’s team, told Radar Online in response to Tuesday’s results.
“He picked weak candidates in otherwise slam dunk races requiring the party to spend tons of money we’d rather spend elsewhere.”
“I mean, we had a historic opportunity and Trump’s recruitment of unelectable candidates blew it for us,” echoed veteran Republican strategist Scott Reed.
“Trump has now lost three elections in a row for the Republican Party and it’s time to snap out of this foolishness.”
Fox News correspondent Jacqui Henri expressed similar concerns, revealing that several GOP leaders texted her on election night to complain about “the Trump effect.”
“GOP source tells me ‘If it wasn’t clear before it should be now. We have a Trump problem,” Henri tweeted on Wednesday.
Insiders say Trump became “livid” while watching results roll in from across the country, and in typical Trump fashion, he “lashed out” at those around him and blamed for the surprising outcome.
“Trump is indeed furious this morning, particularly about Mehmet Oz, and is blaming everyone who advised him to back Oz,” tweeted Trump biographer and New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman.
“Including his wife, describing it as not her best decision, according to people close to him.”
Haberman went on to say that GOP leadership has encouraged Trump to wait until the dust settles before announcing his intention to run in ’24.
“There are people pushing Trump to reschedule his announcement next week, and several Rs have texted asking whether he will, but it’s risky and would be acknowledging he’s wounded by yesterday, something that some of his advisers insist is not the case,” Haberman added.
Yeah, asking Trump to step aside for the good of his party should work out just fine.
After all, this is guy who’s genuinely devoted to the greater good and has never once made a bad decision simply because he’s a slave to his own ginormous ego.
In case it wasn’t clear, we’re being as sarcastic as anyone has ever been in the history of sarcasm.
In other Donald news, 45’s daughter Tiffany Trump is getting married this weekend!
Don’t let the big man give a toast, Tiff — he’s in one of his sulky moods!