GOP surges as Trump fades from public spotlight

AWhile Governor Glenn Youngkin promised a “new day” in Virginia, former President Donald Trump was in a small prison town in Arizona to question the past.

The juxtaposition between the future of the GOP — epitomized for some by Youngkin, who carefully toed the line between Trump supporter and the Republican establishment to flip the governor’s seat in blue-leaning Virginia — and its recent past as a that “Trump’s party” is particularly striking as the party, which enjoyed a 14-point swing in 2021 to edge out Democrats on voter registration, has made gains nationally .

“It’s going to be an exceptional cycle for Republicans up and down the ticket. You really have a perfect storm,” said John Thomas, Republican strategist and chairman of Thomas Partners Strategies. Washington Examiner. “It’s still a while before November, but if you do historical comparisons to the wave of 2010, almost by every indicator Republicans are in a stronger position now than they were in other years of wave.”


Thomas noted that Republicans are doing very well across the board in the polls. He said Republicans also appear to have an advantage in small-dollar donations — a potential indicator of strong Republican voter turnout in the 2022 midterm elections.

Political pundits have offered various explanations for the shift in national sentiment. Many have argued that the failures of the Biden administration are driving the change.

“The biggest reason Republicans look so much better is because Democrats are so wrong,” said Republican strategist John Feehery. Washington Examiner.

“The fact that Trump is not responsible for COVID policy definitely helps the GOP. The blame is on Biden now,” he continued. “Inflation, the global supply chain, crime on the streets, Russia on the move. All of this is directly attributable to Democratic incompetence. And that’s probably the most important factor.

President Joe Biden has seen poll numbers plummet since taking office, with his job approval in the 1930s, according to a recent poll. Thomas noted that presidents can either drag or lift vulnerable politicians from their party.

“Biden adds nothing to a Democrat who needs saving right now,” Thomas said. “Part of the advantage of having a president in the White House is that you can send the president to organize key swing races for your party. In this case, you want to lock Joe up and put him in the basement and hopefully it won’t. won’t be released until after November.”

Terry Holt, Republican strategist and founder of Holt Communication Strategies, said the GOP should focus on the Biden administration’s shortcomings in the midterm elections and avoid intraparty infighting.

“Biden is driving GOP opinion right now. The candidates outlining the Biden agenda will do their best, and it will work to take over the House and the Senate,” he told the Washington Examiner. “Democrats would love nothing more than to make Trump the campaign issue, and we shouldn’t take the bait.”

Many Democrats across the country have stuck to this Trump-era playbook, attempting to tie their political opponents to the former president. One of them, former Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, even sent a tricky letter last September displaying Youngkin’s endorsement of Trump – a strategy that ultimately failed to install McAuliffe in the mansion. of the governor.

But Trump has largely withdrawn from public visibility over the past year. He has done interviews and continues to issue statements commenting on recent events through his Save America PAC, but even the sympathetic Fox News has refused to do so. broadcast his last rally in full, a departure from the 2016 campaign and the Trump administration era, leaving it to smaller networks such as OANN and Newsmax. Despite conflicting reports, Trump has not appeared in Virginia, either in person or virtually, to rally on behalf of Youngkin’s successful candidacy. And Google searches for Trump have plunged to their lowest levels in 2021 since he first announced his candidacy in 2015, according to google trends.

“Right now, the secret to regaining power midterm is allowing the focus to be on the ineptitude, incompetence, and ugly woke agenda of the Democrats,” Thomas said. “Trump, by his very nature when he’s at the center of attention, takes that attention away from the gravity of the Democrats. And so the fact that the former president isn’t front and center is a great thing as we let’s enter the mid-term cycle.”

Some GOP pundits suggest the party might have been well served by Trump’s diminished power over social media platforms after he was pulled from Facebook, Twitter and others following the 6 January, saying the former president’s inability to lock candidates into awkward positions has been a boon to the party.

“It probably helps that Trump isn’t on Twitter. He can’t just tweet everything that comes to mind, and Republicans aren’t in a position to react to it,” Feehery said.

Ed Rogers, a Republican consultant who founded the BGR Group, argued that the dynamic of Biden commanding center stage while Trump largely lurks behind the scenes marks a reversal in 2020 election readiness when the Democratic nominee won the White House by keeping a low profile during the campaign.

“Trump was supposed to win. The incumbent was supposed to win. And I think he didn’t because of Biden’s campaign of basically hiding and letting Trump blow up and offend people,” he told the Washington Examiner, arguing that Trump had good political instincts. “On a human level, a lot of people have had issues with Trump, [whereas] Biden seemed like a benign alternative.

While that seemed to suggest Trump could be reaping the rewards of his low profile, Rogers said “the unanimity of conventional wisdom that Biden is finished is simply grossly exaggerated,” pointing to historical trends that point to the party out power tends to make gains in midterm elections.

“I believe what’s supposed to happen in American politics tends to happen. The governing party tends to lose a bunch of seats in the House. To treat it not just as your typical loss, but as something like a major downdraft – I think it’s premature. We’ll see,” he told the Washington Examiner.

The President’s party has consistently lost House seats in every midterm election since 1962, with two exceptions, many of which were due to the extraordinary political circumstances of President Bill Clinton’s impeachment and the 9/11 terrorist attacks. September.

Republicans have unveiled an aggressive approach to the midterm elections, releasing a five-figure Christmas-themed ad in December that ran in districts represented by 40 of their 57 total Democratic targets.


Under Trump, Republicans have managed to bolster a conservative majority on the Supreme Court and implement parts of their agenda, such as tax reform. But they also lost the House, the Senate and the White House in four years. An analysis by the Guardian found that Republican House candidates outperformed Trump in a majority of counties in the 2020 election, and he left office with a 41.1% approval rating on the RealClearPolicies aggregate.

A Trump representative did not respond to the Washington Examiner request for comment.

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