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Sunday, May 26, 2024

In midterms, Republicans embraced Trump and got what they deserved

The party of the toxic elephant laid down in the Trump slime and stink just as badly as he does. How fitting.

The Democrats kept their control of the Senate Saturday when networks, wire services, and election watchers declared Nevada Sen. Cortez Masto re-elected as the 50th Democrat with a runoff election in Georgia could increase the lead to 51.

The win was another nail in the coffin of Republican hopes to take total control of Congress as counting continues to limit whatever number of seats they will finally win in an off-year election when the party not in the white house normally wins about 30 seats.

Dispirited Republicans are pointing angry fingers at disgraced and criminally-probed former president Donald Trump, who kept injecting his discredited lies about losing the 2020 presidential election after just one scandal-ridden term and the questionable candidates he recruited and endorsed who drove Republicans to vote for Democrats.

Writes Dan Balz in The Washington Post:

Trump saddled the party with weak candidates. With better candidates in Pennsylvania, Georgia and Arizona, Republicans might have won control of the Senate. Instead, Democrats gained a seat in Pennsylvania and held both Arizona and Nevada. The victory in Nevada, where Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto was projected as the winner on Saturday night, gives Democrats the 50 seats needed to maintain control (with Vice President Harris’s tiebreaking vote); a victory in the Georgia runoff next month would give them 51 seats.

Democrats also did well in state legislative races where it mattered most, holding all their legislative majorities while winning control of Republican chambers in a number of states. This too ran counter to midterm patterns. Democrats lost hundreds of legislative seats during the midterm elections of 2010 and 2014. This year, in Michigan, which conducted its legislative elections under fairer maps than the maps produced after the 2010 redistricting, Democrats captured both chambers. The same happened in Minnesota. In both states, Democrats now have full control of the government.

The House results remain the biggest surprise of the election, and they have caused much anguish inside the Republican Party. Even after Trump lost the White House in 2020, most GOP leaders concluded that they couldn’t win elections without his voters. That gave Trump the power to meddle in elections while drawing attention to himself as he falsely claimed the 2020 election was stolen. The Democrats branded Republicans as the MAGA (Make America Great Again) party. Republicans went along with Trump for the sheer sake of winning power. Now they may conclude they cannot win decisively as long as he is a dominant influence. The calls to move on are growing louder.

Still, the big story of this election is the damage Trump has done and the price Republicans have paid for not standing up to him sooner.

Exit polls showed a majority of voters in most states and districts felt Trump was guilty of crimes, including fraud, obstruction of justice and sedition against the Constitution and America. Even Republicans in many areas said they saw too much dishonesty and immorality as valid reasons to deny him another term in office or to lead the party he has destroyed.

Maureen Dowd, a columnist for The Newe York Times, notes:

An election storm brought the house down on the Mar-a-Lago warlock and devastated Republican hopes for a rout.

The third time should be the charm. Since winning in 2016, Trump helped Republicans lose the House in 2018 and lose the White House and the Senate after the 2020 elections. Now he seems to have rescued Democrats from the traditional midterm shellacking — Republicans are barely within reach of a House majority and are watching their chance of controlling the Senate slip away. Trump has been poison for his party.

Polls showed that even many people unhappy with Joe Biden voted Democratic, a sign that Trump fatigue has finally set in. It’s so bad, the Murdoch empire has turned on its former fair-haired boy.

Many of us who cover and comment about politics, government, and elections asked voters to put the future of democracy and the threat against the American way of life ahead of the party, and exit polls show many voters did precisely that.

Democracy worked and voters saved the day.

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