That big sigh of relief you heard on Sunday was the sound of the Democrats and the media welcoming them
Donald TrumpReturn to public attention with his speech to the Conservative Political Action Conference. What would Washington Post writers do without him?
As for Republicans and Mr. Trump, the future is not as clear as the press and the former president would like it to be. The CPAC crowd cheered his speech, which was largely a compilation of the biggest political hits. But if CPAC represented America, Mr. Trump would still be living in the White House, not Mar-a-Lago. He lost to
Joe Biden, the old democratic war horse, with seven million votes. He also lost five states he wore in 2016, even Georgia.
That’s the cold GOP reality as the former president tries to dominate the party from exile and tease a 2024 comeback. Mr Trump boasted of his record vote for an incumbent president and recognized every GOP success in 2020. His esteemed election advisors John and Jim McLaughlin made the same case in our Letters column On Monday.
We applaud the debate, but if 2020 was so fabulous, why are Republicans locked in power up and down Pennsylvania Avenue? They have no control over the $ 1.9 trillion extravaganza, which they rightly regret. Democrats are slowly erasing the Trump legacy on taxes, deregulation, energy, education, and more.
That didn’t have to happen. The incumbent presidential election tends to consolidate the election as the party in power augments profits from four years earlier. The Trump years are a rare exception as, despite his political successes, Mr Trump has never achieved a job approval rating of over 50%. Public dislike is personal.
Republicans lost the house in 2018 when suburban voters fled to check on Mr Trump. He lost the White House on November 3rd and cost the GOP two races in the Georgia Senate on January 5th when he made his allegations of electoral fraud the main problem instead of checking out and checking Mr. Biden
Nancy Pelosi. Mr Trump was essentially telling his supporters in Georgia that their votes didn’t matter, and many stayed home. The GOP lost the Senate.
Mr. Trump is now trying to rewrite this story as someone else’s guilt – Democrats who cheated, Republicans who don’t “fight,” a cowardly Supreme Court that includes three of his nominees, everyone but himself. This is not true, like another Trump pollster, Anthony Fabrizio,
made clear in his post-election analysis. Mr Trump had a groundbreaking victory in 2016, but has cost the GOP dearly since then.
Mr Trump said on Sunday that he would not form a third party because that would split the center-right coalition and elect Democrats. But he’s also made his list of political enemies and is clearly out to take revenge on anyone who voted to indict or convict him, or who disagreed with his electoral claims. These intra-party struggles will consume the GOP’s energy and resources if their priority now is to retake Congress in 2022.
Mr Trump’s support base means he will play an important role in the GOP. But if the Biden months continue and the political ramifications of the 2020 defeat grow strong, the party’s grassroots may look to a new generation of potential standard-bearers beyond the Trump era. As long as Republicans focus on the ills of Trump’s past, they will not be a government majority.
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