On Friday, we featured a reader letter on the future of the Republican Party as it relates to President Trump and the way he’s handling –- or not handling –- this post-election moment. She felt that it’s time for Trump to step back.
Trump has been reacting wildly on social media (Truth Social now instead of Twitter) in the very style that at times has put off even some of his most ardent supporters, and newly incomprehensible as well. He’s coming off as vengeful and bitter, and that’s not a good look if he’s getting ready to announce another run for President.
Certainly the pressure was on him to provide the coattails for the GOP, especially for certain candidates he’d endorsed. And the outcome is turning out to be disappointing and uneven, given the expectations many of us had. Losing the House would have been a disaster in many ways, but at this writing, late Friday, we’re almost sure of taking it. Still, another disappointment has hit, as it was reported Friday that Democrat Sen. Mark Kelly, a reliable Biden rubber-stamper, will keep his seat, with a win over GOP candidate Blake Masters in Arizona.
But, aside from that, it does appear that there was quite a red wave, much more, I'm sorry to say, than is apparent in the appropriation of actual seats. Aaron Kliegman reported for JUST THE NEWS that according to Cook Political Report, Republican actually won 52.3 percent of the total ballots cast, at least as of late November 10, with the Democrats coming in considerably lower at just 46.2 percent. We checked for an update early November 12, and Republicans were still in the lead, though their margin was a little narrower, 51.8 percent.
This report is updated regularly, so you can check here to see how we’re doing.
Kliegman wrote: “It’s unclear at this point what explains the glaring incongruity between the GOP’s underwhelming performance in terms of winning seats on the one hand and its significant lead in the popular vote on the other.” That’s something to look at, certainly. But those overall percentages are at least something to celebrate --- and they’re no doubt very concerning to Democrats looking ahead to the next election. Marc Elias must be lying awake nights coming up with more ideas for putting a thumb on the scale in 2024.
Certain races, however, particularly the Senate race in Pennsylvania where Trump-backed Dr. Mehmet Oz lost to cognitively-impaired far-leftist schlub John Fetterman, so irked President Trump that he took to his own social media platform, Truth Social, to say some extremely ill-advised things. The worst of all was his totally nonsensical jab at Virginia GOP Gov. Glenn Youngkin, which seems as though it might have been posted while Trump was under heavy medication. (One almost hopes we could find out that it was.) In a rant saying Youngkin wouldn’t have been able to win the governor’s race without him, he referred to the name Youngkin –- “Young Kin” –- as “sounding Chinese.”
Youngkin stayed above this. “Listen, you all know me,” he told reporters. “I do not call people names. I really work hard to bring people together...that’s not the way I roll and not the way I behave.”
The NEW YORK POST spoke to sources who had been around Trump as returns came in, and they didn’t paint a pretty picture. Trump had focused his ire on the increasingly popular GOP Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis when DeSantis had said nothing to provoke him, violating President Reagan’s “11th Commandment” about not speaking ill of others in the party. Trump succeeded only in making Republicans long for someone like Ronald Reagan at the helm of our party instead of what we have. And that makes the more measured DeSantis look even better.
Given what Trump has been put through by his political enemies ever since he first announced he was running for President, it’s amazing he came through it in one piece. He is still standing after attempts on every front to destroy him, and we love him for that. But he needs to demonstrate for us that the saying, “What does not kill us makes us stronger,” is true in his case. (Research has shown that this is not generally true.) Trump needs to be stronger, not flailing. Wiser, not more emotional. More strategic, not more impulsive. If he has been weakened, if he is now more of a political liability, he’ll need to understand that it’s time to embark on another phase of life, outside of politics, for the good of the country he loves.
On the other hand, when Dan Bongino addressed this issue during his Friday podcast, he said he’s not worried that a primary contest between Trump and DeSantis will weaken the party. Judging from history, he believes this would strengthen it, no matter how much aggravation and airing of dirty laundry is involved. It’s good, he said, “because by the time you get to the general, all the dirty laundry’s been aired.” He also reminded us how hard Trump campaigned for Ron DeSantis in his first, very close election, saying that’s probably what placed him in the governor’s chair. He credited Trump for Florida’s move to “red.”
But Trump was certainly wrong, Bongino (who lives in Florida) said, to call DeSantis an “average” governor, when he is an excellent governor. “He took what Trump started,” he said, “and ran with it in the state of Florida.”
“The best approach right now is to slow down,” he cautioned. It should be about the party right now, and the races currently at stake. “There’s no rush,” he said; “there’ll be more than enough time to attack each other [on issues].’ He’s confident they’re “not gonna hurt each other” but strongly warns they must NOT make it personal, because voters will be deeply alienated by that. I would say this warning might have come too late for Trump, though, as we’re already seeing him alienate them.
What do you think? Here’s the podcast; his remarks on Trump/DeSantis start about 43 minutes in…