Blaming Trump for the midterms
In the days following the 2022 midterms, some self-anointed conservative thought leaders, who were never all that pro-Trump to begin with, have officially thrown the 45th president under the bus. These spineless conservatives have frolicked over to the DeSantis camp in a way that almost seems as if it were choreographed. Just like that, Trump is yesterday's news — he is to be discarded and forgotten about. "We need to move on from Trump!" they'll sheepishly exclaim. To that I say: pathetic...absolutely pathetic. This kind of thinking, to put it euphemistically, is unsound and illogical.
While it's hard to put a positive spin on the mediocre midterm results, it is hopelessly misguided to place the blame on President Trump. Blake Masters and Doug Mastriano did not lose because of their Trumpian qualities; they lost because of lack of support from the Republican establishment. Mitch McConnell and Karl Rove, instead of supporting young America-First talent, decided to back the swamp. Ted Cruz recently voiced his exasperation at McConnell for his abandonment of Blake Masters, saying, "Masters said he would vote against Mitch McConnell. And so Mitch would rather be leader than have a Republican majority. If there's a Republican who can win who's not going to support Mitch, the truth of the matter is, he'd rather the Democrat win." This absolute abdication of duty from the party leviathans has a lot to do with why these precocious candidates fell short.
Commentators like Rove, however, saw Tuesday night as a repudiation of MAGA: "every candidate is realizing that in their state or district they are more popular than Donald Trump. ... Put it another way, Donald Trump is an anchor weighing them down. He looms over this, no ifs or buts." Rove is exactly what is wrong with the GOP establishment. He wants Bush-era neocons to reclaim the party and jettison the populist wing. This, however, is simply not going to happen. Trump, whether Karl Rove likes it or not, took a dying neoliberal skeleton of a party and transformed it into a historic movement fueled by grassroots workers and patriots. Without Trump, we would be looking to Jeb Bush for leadership.
I often think about the moment during one of the many 2015 Republican undercard debates when neocon Lindsey Graham cried out, "I miss George W. Bush! I wish you were president right now!" Nothing better captures the GOP establishment ethos than those words. The fact of the matter is that these tired faux-conservative talking heads have been waiting for any excuse to ditch Trump. We should, instead, ditch them.
I like Ron DeSantis. He's proven to be a tremendous governor in Florida. But remember, without Trump's unwavering support, Andrew Gillum is governor. There just simply is no doubt about that. Without Trump, there is no DeSantis. Furthermore, without Trump, there is no America First movement. To abandon him now is cowardly and ungrateful.
Image: Gage Skidmore.