2022 Election, Columnists, Elections, Mike Rosen, National, Uncategorized

Rosen: A Trump reckoning for Republicans

The midterm election was a big disappointment for Republicans and a great misfortune for the nation.  While the anticipated red wave didn’t materialize, it was at least a partial win for the GOP, gaining a House majority that will prevent Democrats from fully transforming the country into a socialist sinkhole.  Plus, we’ll be rid of Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House, the wicked witch of the west coast.

Americans told pollsters their greatest concerns were inflation, energy prices, the economy, crime and illegal immigration, and blamed Democrats for that.  Republicans focused on those issues.  Democrats misrepresented their policy failures, wildly claimed Republicans would destroy democracy — when, ironically, an election is all about democracy at work — and dwelled on abortion and climate change, supposedly of far lesser concern to most Americans.  But the Dems escaped with Senate control, anyway.  Go figure.

Most so-called independents reliably vote for a particular major party and more of them favor Democrats.  The younger ones have been effectively indoctrinated by the left in K-12, college, the liberal news media, TV, Hollywood and social media, and they lap up the progressive snake oil.  Hopefully, they’ll grow older and wiser someday.  An actual red wave would have required truly independent swing voters to elect Republicans. Apparently, there aren’t enough of those.

As obvious as a black widow spider on an angel food cake, the biggest loser in this election was Donald Trump.  But what can be done with him?  He’s not the leader of the Republican Party, just the Trump Party.  He blessed hundreds of candidates with his endorsement in 2022.  As Trump kept score with his prestige at risk, the tally fluctuated as he withdrew his endorsement if a candidate looked likely to lose.  As a condition of his endorsement Trumpy candidates had to pledge they’d echo his claim that the 2020 election was stolen from him.  Outside of Trump’s hard core, for whom he can do no wrong — perhaps 25% of the electorate — this was of little interest to the greater electorate and vital swing voters who were focused on today’s issues.  It was just Trump indulging his ego.

Trump’s surrogates lost in close races that could have been won by candidates with broader appeal in key states, thus giving Republicans a Senate majority.  His endorsement was a liability, not an asset to too many potential swing voters.

As president, I credit Trump for presiding over many worthwhile public policy achievements and bringing new voters into the Republican fold, but he alienated far too many others with his brutish antics.  He was brought down by Covid’s disruption of the country — which was beyond his control — and his flawed character, narcissism, pettiness, vindictiveness and ceaseless bragging  — which he refused to control.  He presents himself as a fierce “fighter” to his adoring core, and it fuels their anger and frustration beyond an appeal to reason.  Ronald Reagan was a fighter but more like a skilled boxer.  Trump is an undisciplined slugger and brawler, like a bull in a china shop.

Now, he’s irreparably damaged goods.  If he were to win the GOP nomination in 2024, he’d lose the election.  More than voting for his Democrat opponent, swing voters would be voting against Trump and against other Republicans by association.  He’s a voter-turnout magnet for those who can’t stand him.

On election night he threw a gala shindig at Mar-a-Lago, which turned into a wake as the disappointing results came in, with Trump reportedly fuming.  He’s a sinking ship being abandoned by former supporters, even some on Fox News.  But he’s still a wild card, lately attacking Ron DeSantis whom he sees as the principal rival for the GOP nomination.  As expected, Trump announced his 2024 candidacy last week before a cheering crowd of hand-picked sycophants at Mar-a-Lago, setting the stage for an ugly Republican primary season that will benefit the Democrats.

Even worse, if Trump is denied the nomination he could spitefully pull a Ross Perot and run on a third-party ticket, splitting the Republican vote and guaranteeing a Democrat win.  Trump’s core isn’t large enough to elect him but Republicans can’t win  without their votes.  One can only hope they’ll be practical and vote for Republicans in their self-interest to save the nation from progressive Democrats.

It was unlikely that realistic Trump confidants could persuade him to gracefully retire from the political battlefield and lead his followers to the Republican bandwagon for 2024.  Trump listens only to those who tell him what he wants to hear.  I wish him no harm but the best hope now would be an alien space craft whooshing him away to rule their planet.

Longtime KOA radio talk host and columnist for the Denver Post and Rocky Mountain News Mike Rosen now writes for CompleteColorado.com.


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