The Republican "Post-Trump" Future Is Fool's Gold

They just can't quit him . . .

If you missed last night’s TNB election special, you can watch the rewind here, or get the podcast version here. It was, as the kids say, hot fire.

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1. Here Endeth the Lesson

The final Virginia numbers are very close to what we talked about yesterday. Glenn Youngkin got big turnout in the Trumpy rural counties and ran his margins there to Saddam Hussein levels. He also made substantial clawbacks of suburban voters in the NoVA counties.

So hugging Trump in the primaries and then denying Trump three times before the polls close can work.

In New Jersey, we’re seeing another version of this dynamic. Incumbent Democratic Governor Phil Murphy received about the same vote total as he did in 2017, when he got 1.2 million votes and won by 15 points. But challenger Jack Ciattarelli found an extra 300,000 Republican votes that weren’t there for the GOP candidate in 2017. Murphy is going to hang on to win, but the story is the Republican turnout.

And it’s important to note that Ciattarelli was as close as you’ll get to an anti-Trump Republican—he beat two MAGA candidates in the primary. (Trump has had nothing to say about Ciattarelli, even when Ciattarelli tiptoed up to him.)

Add it up and you have an environment in which:

  • Democrats remain energized.

  • But Independents are turning on them and no longer view Trump as a salient issue.

  • While Republicans are as energized as they were when Trump was actually on the ballot.

At this point, the House is gone in 2022. Just gone. And the Senate, too. If Democrats don’t understand this by now, then I don’t know what will make them. All I can think of is this little moment from No Country for Old Men:

They’ve seen the same things I’ve seen, and it’s certainly made an impression on me.

From here you can start to see the outlines of what 2024 could look like.

  • Joe Biden may well be impeached by the Republican House.

  • Should a SCOTUS seat be vacated, a Republican Senate will not vote on a replacement until 2025, holding the seat open for as long as necessary.

  • Trump will be the Republican nominee for president.

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