Better late than never, I guess.
What really seems to rankle the most famous resident of Mar-a-Lago isn’t his caricature of our policy differences. It’s that we recognize the reality that Mr. Trump is the main reason Republicans lost two Georgia Senate races in January and thus the Senate majority. Mr. Trump refuses to take responsibility for those defeats, contrary to all evidence.
Mr. Trump’s statement blames the Georgia losses on GOP Gov. Brian Kemp and Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell. His rap on Mr. Kemp is that he didn’t fight hard enough to overturn the President’s loss of the state in November, a claim Mr. Trump turned into his main campaign theme before the Georgia Senate elections on Jan. 5.
All the polling showed that the best argument for electing the two Republicans was as a check and balance against an all-Democratic government. But rather than make that point to voters, Mr. Trump focused on his grievances against Mr. Kemp and his claims that the election was stolen. Mr. Trump told Republican voters that their November votes had been meaningless, so it’s hardly a surprise their turnout fell in January. As the FiveThirtyEight website found, “The better Trump did in a county in November, the more its turnout tended to drop in the runoffs” in January.
It’s not about principle. It’s about winning. And Trump not only lost, but caused other Republicans to lose. That is the cardinal sin.
We rehearse all this because it matters to GOP fortunes going forward. In the single Trump term, Republicans lost the House, White House and finally the Senate. How can it be that everyone other than the most prominent Republican in the country is responsible for victories but not the defeats that have left Republicans in the wilderness?
Losing to Joe Biden of all people, and by 7.1 million votes as an incumbent President, must be painful. Counseling could be in order. Any good analyst will explain that the first step toward recovery is to accept reality. The same applies to Republican voters who want to win back Congress in 2022 and the White House in 2024.
That’s as close as they will get to un-endorsing him for 2024. But like all the other toadies, if he wins the nomination, they’ll come around.