Will the GOP turn away from Trump after the midterms?
#39: With Julia Azari, Brian Klaas, Leslie Vinjamuri
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“The 2022 elections are in large part defined by what didn’t happen. First and foremost, the red wave that many were expecting failed to materialize. Trump-backed candidates were not elected in most competitive statewide races, including a group of Secretaries of State who were dedicated to undermining the election process. For an election at such a tumultuous time, this was a remarkably status-quo-affirming election. Voters were mobilized to the polls in large numbers – to cast their ballots not for great change, but for more of the same – narrow majorities and away from radically reshaping the election process.”
“In 2016, Republican elites tried to undermine Trump. It backfired. He quickly took over the party, side-lining or purging anyone who didn’t become a loyal acolyte. After disastrous midterms, GOP elites will try again. Voters who care about winning and policy most will be sympathetic. But policy-driven Republicans have become the minority under Trump, as many aspects of his leadership have mimicked an authoritarian cult of personality. Alternative leaders, like Ron DeSantis, lack Trump’s charisma and are untested nationally. The death of Trump’s grip on Republican politics has been greatly exaggerated. Like it or not, it’s still his party.”
“Trump lost the popular vote in 2016, he lost the House in 2018, and he lost the White House and Senate in 2020. Now Trump has overseen the worst midterm election result in two decades. Trump endorsed election deniers for key offices in battle ground states and they lost. Radical MAGA Republicans were too extreme for young voters and college educated Americans. Kemp and DeSantis, Trump’s GOP opponents, won. Moderate Republicans have also been waiting for an opening. Trump’s dwindling base will stick with him, but the Party will move on. Expect infighting and turf battles along the way.”
If you want to learn more about this topic, here’s a list of further reading:
Will Republicans Defy Trump’s Authoritarian Cult of Personality? The Garden of Forking Paths, Brian Klaas
Why Trump Is Favored To Win The 2024 Republican Presidential Primary. FiveThirtyEight, Nathaniel Rakich
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