Donald Trump failed the GOP and America – and the party can do better by nominating someone else: Donald J. Trump was the perfect presidential candidate for our modern age. After all, we have all lived through the Age of Reality Television and Trump was one of the most successful reality television stars of the age.
Trump’s celebrity and his uncanny mastery of reality television-style exhibitionism have made Trump far more successful in the theatrical world of national American politics than most political experts would have thought.
As Trump finds himself in the unenviable position of running for reelection while being charged with 91 felony counts across four different criminal trials, Trump’s campaign has experienced the pleasant surprise of increasing poll numbers after each presidential indictment.
What’s more, the mainstream media, that Trump has made a career of deriding—and which clearly resent the forty-fifth president—cannot stop fixating on Trump because it boosts their ratings as much as Trump’s indictments have bettered his poll numbers in the 2024 GOP Presidential Primary.
Whether they mean it or not, the media itself is empowering Trump’s reelection campaign. As is the justice system, which continues pressing Trump on these legal matters and timing the trial dates to coincide with key dates in the 2024 Presidential Election.
For Trump’s fanatical base of support, or even for many average Republican Party voters, this smacks of political interference by a politicized justice department working in tandem with a media establishment that Republicans have correctly assumed leaned hard to the left for many years.
Outside of the perception that Trump is simultaneously the man who alone can fix our problems as well as be the most victimized political figure in our country’s history, Trump’s policy stances are ambiguous at best. At worst, Trump’s previous four years in office highlight an ineffectiveness at governing.
GOP Voters Deserve a Proper Primary
Republican voters deserve to have the nitty-gritty of Donald Trump’s record assessed in an open primary. But they’re not getting it. Interestingly, there was a moment of clarity following the disastrous 2022 Midterm Election.
In that election, the Republicans were slated to sweep the House and Senate.
When they did not win, polls released in the aftermath of the GOP’s lackluster showing indicated that overwhelming numbers of Republican voters were ready. In the words of one pollster, “ready to turn the corner” on Trump.
Voters wanted Trump’s policies without the baggage. That remained consistent for Trump … until the end of March when the first major indictment for Trump came down the pike. In that case, Trump was indicted on charges related to allegedly illegal “hush money” payments to the adult film star, Stormy Daniels, in 2016, from the Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg (who was himself a George Soros-funded prosecutor). Because that case was clearly a politicized event that would have never gone forward against any other individual, except for Trump, Republican voters in particular started to move back toward Trump.
But it’s important to understand what glossing over Trump’s electoral failures means for the Republican Party going forward. Remember, despite whatever Trump and his acolytes would have you believe, American politics is not about a strongman.
It requires countless numbers of people, not only a majority of voters, but other elected officials, the courts, and the bureaucracy to make a presidency successful.
So, if Trump-backed candidates are mostly duds who lose to the most ridiculous Democratic Party candidates, Trump’s “revolution” will be nothing more than the mindless musings of social media personalities cravenly seeking to enhance their audience shares by piggybacking on Trump’s celebrity candidacy.
Trump’s Flop in the 2022 Midterm
Think about the GOP’s performance in the 2022 Midterms.
Former President Trump spent much time playing the role of kingmaker for the Republican Party, coronating whichever Republican candidate was more obsequious to his growing cult of personality than the last.
Yet, the bulk of those candidates that the Republican National Committee (RNC) committed resources to because Trump crowned them the most likely to win their respective races, lost to their Democratic Party rivals.
For goodness sake, John Fetterman, a man who might literally be nearly brain dead, and who dresses like a homeless person at all times, defeated the Trump-backed Republican candidate – an oft-maligned former reality TV personality of sorts himself – in the 2022 Pennsylvania senate race!
In fact, the 2022 Republican Party lineup, most of which was heavily influenced by the forty-fifth president’s preferences, was one of the weakest and most ineffective cohorts of Republican candidates in decades (though, admittedly, that isn’t saying much, given how broken the GOP has been since Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich left Congress).
They turned what should have been a decisive, overwhelming victory into a rout.
Please don’t misunderstand: the GOP Establishment has been snatching defeat from the jaws of victory for decades. But Trump’s failures in 2022—on the heels of his loss, whether legitimate or not, in 2020 as well as his hand in the 2018 Midterm defeat for the Republicans—have compounded the GOP’s political woes bigly.
Trump Is Unpopular with Most Americans
More importantly, there is substantial evidence proving that Donald Trump is not even popular with most Americans. If he were to be the GOP nominee in 2024, Trump’s only saving grace would be that his Democratic Party rival, the octogenarian President Joe Biden, is also hugely unpopular.
Of course, whether by hook or by crook, Biden already defeated Trump once—and that was without Biden doing much in the way of substantive campaigning.
Trump’s 2018 Midterm showing was almost as bad as the Trump-influenced 2022 Midterms. Overwhelming numbers of women and minorities turned out to vote decisively against the former president. Trump’s mere presence in the White House militated astonishing numbers of women to vote against the Republicans out of spite for Trump.
As for Trump’s record as president, it was mixed at best.
That’s not entirely his fault, as I spent years publicly defending him against the seemingly endless wave of mostly false, politically motivated Democratic Party and Administrative State (one-in-the-same these days) attacks on him. That unbelievably corrupt pressure campaign notwithstanding, Trump still did not come anywhere close to achieving the promise of his 2016 campaign.
Trump Actually Failed as President in Many Ways
Not all those failures can be chalked up to “deep state” interference.
By the way, my writing this does not in any way mean I am a “Never Trumper”. Far from it. What it means is that the Republican Party’s stalwart voters deserve to have a real primary. This is something that they are being denied. That’s largely because of the media circus that Trump’s reality television-like campaign is producing. Until that changes, Trump risks making the same (or even similarly tragic) mistakes.
If the Biden Administration’s Department of Justice (DOJ) was truly interested in justice rather than political interference in the 2024 Presidential Election, they’d hold all prosecutions of Trump until 2025 or 2026, so that the voters could work through Trump’s various pros and cons as a candidate.
Instead, the way that both the mainstream media as well as the justice system have behaved toward Trump means that the forty-fifth president can distill everything down to his Manichean personality contest – of distilling everything as good or evil – rather than the efficacy of his policies.
As the former president might have once tweeted, I now say the same about the state (and likely future) of our slowly dying republic: “So sad.”
A 19FortyFive Senior Editor, Brandon J. Weichert is a former Congressional staffer and geopolitical analyst who is a contributor at The Washington Times, as well as at the Asia Times. He is the author of Winning Space: How America Remains a Superpower (Republic Book Publishers), Biohacked: China’s Race to Control Life (Encounter Books), and The Shadow War: Iran’s Quest for Supremacy (July 23). Weichert occasionally serves as a Subject Matter Expert for various organizations, including the Department of Defense. He can be followed via Twitter @WeTheBrandon.
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