by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
It’s not true that nobody’s talking about the elephant in the room. Every damn body is talking about that elephant. It’s all we are talking about right now.
As usual, the elephant can’t shut up, and neither can the rest of us. He’s super loud, and we are all shouting at each other in frustration. After all, he is really big and we can’t avoid the smell when he takes a dump.
I am no Donald Trump hater. I thought he was a really great president until COVID hit. I thought then and think now that COVID was an enemy Trump was ill suited to fight because no matter how insulting he was, the virus was indifferent. COVID didn’t care about insults, bluster, bullying, or showmanship. …
… It turned out, though, that the “experts” he outsourced to were both incompetent and out to kill his presidency. They did. They screwed up dealing with the virus, but managed to wound Trump badly. Trump let them, or at least couldn’t stop them from doing so. …
… When Trump was defeated in 2020–by fair means or foul, depending upon your read of the evidence–Trump remained the issue everybody spoke of.
2021 was the year of Trump discussions. The 2022 elections were–according to the Democrats and with some evidence–all about Trump. It was the only thing Democrats would talk about besides abortion. BadOrangeMan threattodemocracy electiondenier indictTrumpnow January6blahblahblah. Exhausting.
But a funny thing happened along the way–Republicans who didn’t talk much about Trump did quite well in the elections–better than predicted. And Republicans who were tied to Trump at the hip underperformed, even in deep Red districts such as CO-3. Ron DeSantis, Brian Kemp, and by extension Glenn Youngkin all came out looking very good indeed. Herschel Walker, Mehmet Oz, and Don Bolduc not so much.