Back in September, I wrote a piece cautioning Republicans that they may be in store for a harsh lesson come November; that lesson being that candidates who are beholden to Donald Trump limit the potential for GOP success in statewide elections. The same arguments I made in that article have been thrust into the national spotlight following the embarrassment the GOP suffered on Tuesday.
For months leading up to election day, Republicans (and many Democrats) were predicting a red wave. However, as the votes were counted, it quickly became clear that the wave would never materialize. With a handful of races still in question, Republicans have an outside chance at 51 Senate seats and are projected to narrowly control the House.
Only one man is to blame for such an embarrassing shortcoming; former President Donald Trump. Left and right, Trump’s handpicked candidates in battleground states lost. They underperformed expectations, as well as their more moderate counterparts.
In Georgia, Trump opponent Governor Brian Kemp cruised to victory, whereas Herschel Walker will face off against Raphael Warnock in a runoff later this month. In Pennsylvania, Mehmet Oz lost his Senate race to John Fetterman, a candidate barely able to put together sentences during his all-time poor debate performance. In Arizona, both Blake Masters and Kari Lake are in serious jeopardy.
Republicans also came nowhere close to their projection in New Hampshire, Colorado, and Washington Senate races, states that had an outside chance of swinging red in the event of a red tsunami.
On the House side, Republicans had for the most part assumed control was a foregone conclusion. Yet, Republicans have struggled to even eclipse a simple majority in the lower chamber.
The thing that every one of these failed candidates had was a weak track record that was propped up by the endorsement of Donald Trump.
However, the only state apparently isolated from this underperformance was Florida. Governor Ron Desantis led Republicans to an utter massacre in the state, winning by nearly 20 points. Republicans now hold the Governor’s mansion, both U.S. Senate seats, and supermajorities in both chambers of the state legislature. Florida is a red state now, and Ron DeSantis is to thank.
The bloodbath we witnessed last night in Florida shows a clear path forward; Ron DeSantis is a capable challenger to Donald Trump in 2024. DeSantis has the ability to incorporate the populist aspects of Trump’s appeal into a more refined conservative message. Trump recognizes the threat DeSantis poses, warning the Florida governor last week against a launching White House bid last week.
Trump has hinted at an announcement before the end of the month. However, the referendum on his candidacy was put on full display two years early, as the votes were counted Tuesday night. The Republican party can not win with Donald Trump as its leader.
The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.