In defense of President Trump, following the midterm disappointment

Moments after Donald Trump announced that he was running for president from Trump Tower in New York in June 2015, experts summarily dismissed him, claiming he delivered the worst campaign launch speech in political history and it was the end of Trump before he even began.

Then Trump triumphed in the primary debates and had rallies that packed stadiums. The experts claimed that people were there for the comedy roasts, and most regular voters would be turned off by Trump’s rhetoric, and hence, it is the end of Trump.

When Trump topped the polls, the experts claimed that it was because of the crowded Republican primary and that the real picture would only emerge when the field narrowed down. They also insisted that the polls were meaningless and voters would elect Jeb Bush as the GOP nominee, causing the end of Trump.

When Trump lost the Iowa Caucus to Ted Cruz, the very first contest during the primaries, the experts claimed it was the end of Trump.

Trump went on to win New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada, but once again the experts claim that on Super Tuesday, it would be the end of Trump.

Trump triumphed on Super Tuesday and most of the subsequent primary contests to become the presumptive nominee with the most votes in the history of GOP primaries. Yet the experts insisted that the majority of delegates at the convention would nominate a mainstream candidate such as Mitt Romney and it would be the end of Trump.

When Trump clinched the nomination, they said that he is such a polarizing figure that he would repel women, Hispanics, LGBT+, and Muslims. They predicted that he would lose with such a landslide that it not only will be the end of Trump, but also the end of the GOP.

When Trump won the election, a host of former celebrities appeared in a PSA urging members of the Electoral College not to cast their vote for President-Elect Trump, despite him winning the required votes. Experts claimed that that could be the end of Trump.

The experts began talking about the end of Trump via impeachment and the 25th Amendment even before Trump was inaugurated.

All through his presidency, their predictions about Trump’s end were frequent.

They said he would be forced to resign during the politized probe for the Russian Collusion hoax. They said he would be forced to quit, after the first baseless impeachment over a call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. Following the second baseless impeachment for "incitement of insurrection" they claimed with certitude that it was the end of Trump as a political force.

Most of the above claims were made by Democrats, Never-Trump Republicans, and occasionally conservatives.

Now that the GOP has underperformed during the midterms, they are once again claiming it is the end of Trump and the beginning of the era of Ron DeSantis. Many conservatives have joined in.

Ann Coulter wrote on Breitbart that: "A Nation Rejoices! A Humiliating Defeat for Trump.” David Frum wrote, “Trump Lost the Midterms. Ron DeSantis Won.” 

The Democrat media also joined in.

Chuck Todd called it a “Bad night for Trump; Good night for DeSantis.”  The WaPo claimed, “After midterms, Ron DeSantis eclipses Trump on Fox News.” CNN claimed that ‘Murdoch's media empire celebrates DeSantis as future of GOP after midterms. Maggie Haberman claimed conservative media ‘landscape’ has ‘shifted’ away from Trump.

So how did 'rising star' Ron DeSantis perform during the midterms?

DeSantis was re-elected in Florida by nearly 20 points; it was an emphatic victory. Experts compared it to Trump’s victory in 2020 by 3.4 points. The implication is that DeSantis won by 6 -7 times wider margin than Trump.

DeSantis has undoubtedly done well during crises such as COVID-19 and Hurricane Ian. 

DeSantis is the first Republican gubernatorial candidate since Jeb Bush to win Miami-Dade, a Hispanic county regarded as a Democrat bastion. Trump lost that county in 2020.

The claim being made is that DeSantis has a broader appeal, and is more disciplined and focused than Trump, so this victory in Florida makes him a more viable presidential candidate than Trump. Really?

Let's look at the vote count in Florida.

In 2020, Trump received 5.6 million votes and Biden receive 5.2 million while DeSantis received 4.6 million votes, almost a million fewer than either Trump and Biden. 

A case could be made that DeSantis is so unpopular or polarizing that despite his good governance, his lack of ‘baggage,’ his disciplined messaging, the mass Republican migration to Florida, the victory in a Democrat stronghold, and being pitted against a very weak liberal, Charlie Crist, he received 1 million fewer votes than Trump and 0.6 million less than Biden.

What else happened with Trump's endorsements?

Some of Trump’s endorsements lost and some Republicans whom Trump viciously opposed did win.



It must be remembered that Trump didn’t pick these candidates from the general population, he merely endorsed from what was presented to him by the GOP. 

However, the figures cited below reveal that Trump’s endorsements did well.



These wins could enable the GOP to hold the Senate and the House, albeit by a slim margin.

J.D. Vance won in Ohio. The Nevada Senate race is leaning toward the GOP. Kris Kobach won in Kansas. Joe Kent will win in Washington. Anna Paulina Luna won and flipped a Democrat seat in Florida. The GOP flipped four seats in New York and one in New Jersey. Lee Zeldin came close to winning the governor's race in NY.  Kari Lake could still win in Arizona and so could Herschel Walker in Georgia in the runoff.

Yet some conservatives are saying that this is DeSantis’s turn and that Trump should step aside. Perhaps they forget that only monarchs have turns. When Queen Elizabeth II passed away, it was Prince Charles's turn to be king.

What about President Trump threatening to reveal dirt about DeSantis? DeSantis is an adult and if he intends to run for president he has to be prepared for the worst. Let’s see how DeSantis deals with the attacks. Will he shrug them off and counter Trump or will he crawl into his shell like a frightened turtle?

It is probably human instinct to want to blame somebody after such a catastrophic disappointment. 

It is surprising that few experts are blaming GOP officials such as Kevin McCarthy, Mitch McConnell, and Ronna McDaniel. Instead, they are attacking Trump who holds no official party post but who campaigned tirelessly throughout the midterms. It would have been much worse had Trump stayed out.

The end of Trump will be the media narrative now for months. It has to be wondered why anti-MAGA voices are suddenly and quite aggressively championing DeSantis.

So is this really the end of the Trump era?

For seven long years, experts on both sides of the political spectrum have been predicting the political demise of Trump, and with each pronouncement they say ‘it is different this time.'

The only way to know if Trump remains a force to reckon with in the party is to allow the voters to decide.

If I were a betting man, I would place my money on Trump.

Image: Pixabay / Pixabay license

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