What do we do with Trump after 2022?

Georgia analysis first — Warnock won by 100,000 votes with 1,800,000 total votes.

For comparison: In the 2020 Georgia Senate races, Perdue got almost 2.5 million votes — more than Ossoff.  In the runoff, Ossoff won with under 2.3 million votes — less than Perdue got in the original election.  In the Georgia Senate special election, the two GOP candidates amassed more votes than both the Democrat candidates, including Warnock.  In their runoff, Loeffler lost to Warnock; again, Warnock won but got fewer votes than the combined GOP candidates amassed in the original election.

GOP voters who showed up in huge numbers in the original Georgia 2020 Senate races didn't show up in 2022.  Why?

I suspect because of events related to Trump.  The constant talk of voting fraud has demoralized Georgia GOP voters.  That is why they don't show up to vote anymore: they believe that the game is rigged.  In 2020, Lin Wood and Sidney Powell made statements that some interpreted as telling Georgia GOP voters not to vote in the Senate runoff elections as some sort of protest.  In the last two Georgia governor and A.G. races, GOP candidates Kemp and Raffensperger won handily.  While some call them RINOs, they endorsed and supported President Trump and all the GOP Senate candidates, including Walker.  Walker and Trump have nobody to blame but themselves.

In Arizona, Pennsylvania, Nevada, Washington, Oregon, and New Hampshire, all of Trump's endorsed Senate, and most gubernatorial, candidates were defeated by decisive margins.  In Arizona, Blake Masters lost by 100,000+ votes.  AZ gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake lost by 17,000 votes, and the AZ GOP A.G. candidate, Abe Hamadeh, lost by 500 votes.  That sounds like independent voters turned off by the GOP candidates to varying degrees.  Remember that in the 2018 Arizona Senate race, Democrat Kirsten Sinema beat GOP candidate Martha McSally by 60,000 votes; however, GOP gubernatorial candidate Doug Ducey defeated his Democrat opponent by 300,000 votes in that same election.

Nobody can win in swing states without independent voters.  Trump's candidates didn't make that favorable impression in swing states.  Their outdated or ineffective campaigns did nothing to influence independent voters, young voters, or minority-race Americans.

Looking ahead to 2024 Senate elections: Many incumbent Democrat senators up for re-election won their previous elections by large margins — often 60% or more.  In their last elections, GOP senators Braun, Cruz, and Scott won with razor-thin 50% margins in red states.  In Arizona, Michigan, Nevada, Montana, West Virginia, and Ohio, the Democrat incumbents are vulnerable — if the GOP fields decent candidates who campaign properly and don't have skeletons in their closets.  Democrat incumbents in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, New Mexico, and New Jersey could be defeated if their GOP opponents do it right.  If the GOP sitting senators successfully defend their seats and the GOP could flip these Democrat vulnerable seats, the GOP could end up with 58 Senate seats.

Is it time to move on from Trump?  Many GOP voters are exhausted by Trump's self-inflicted problems.  President Trump appointed Sessions and Barr as attorney general, appointed Milley as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, left Wray in charge of the FBI, dissolved the Election Integrity Commission that he created, and went along with every Fauci/CDC/WHO diktat regarding COVID.  Trump's attacks on other GOP figures — many of whom he endorsed or appointed to high offices — are wearing thin on GOP voters.  Legal attacks on Trump and his awkward and ineffective responses and defense have left many shaking their heads.  Meeting with Kanye West at Mar-a-Lago and other unforced errors have left Trump's political career dying from a thousand cuts.

His legacy could be remade in the future, but for now, a Trump endorsement appears to have no value in swing states.

Image: Gage Skidmore via Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0.

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