by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Former President Donald Trump is being blamed on various counts. Before the midterms, he strangely attacked Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. And he loudly hinted that he would run again.
Those histrionics supposedly took attention away from Republican candidates. Trump turned off some DeSantis fans from Trump-endorsed candidates, and energized Trump-hating left-wingers to go out and vote to stop the momentum for a second Trump presidency.
Yet the idea that Trump was erratic or reckless was not really new and surprised no one on either side of the political divide.
Two, Trump promoted many losing candidates, often on the narrow basis of whether they had accepted his charges of a rigged 2020 election. His critics countered that while his MAGA candidates won primaries in states like Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, and Pennsylvania, they had little chance of going on to win general elections.
Yet, some important Trump-supported candidates did win, including J. D. Vance in Ohio and Ted Budd in North Carolina. At the same time, many centrists and moderates, such as Joe O’Dea in Colorado, lost.
Three, why did Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and the fossilized Republican hierarchy short candidate Blake Masters in Arizona, while pouring money into an internecine fight in Alaska on the side of the less conservative Republican candidate?
Nevertheless, Republican House and Senate coffers probably gave MAGA candidates more than Trump did from his $100 million-plus campaign stash.
Four, are we not in the midst of the greatest political revolution of our age? Election Day voting in most states has been reduced to about 30% of the electorate. What replaced it is an utter mess of early balloting, absentee balloting, mail-in balloting, ranked voting, run-off voting, and endless counting.