Thursday, November 17, 2022

0. It was Trump

This op-ed offers six reasons why Republicans did so badly against expectations of a "red wave" last week. Amazingly, it only mentions the one actual reason once, towards the end, and not even in the context of calling it a reason. In short, here are the six proffered reasons, according to Tom Del Beccaro:

  1. Districts are more solidly partisan than ever.
  2. Most House seats won't flip anymore.
  3. There were more Republican seats contested in the Senate than Democratic seats.
  4. Democrats will vote for a ham sandwich if it has a "D" next to it.
  5. America has become reliant on government.
  6. Republicans had no visible agenda.

Del Beccaro's bio blurb says he is the head of a PAC, "supporting right of center grass roots efforts in California." It also says he is, "the former chairman of the California Republican Party," so that "right of center" thing tells you he is also an outright fake. But let's consider his reasons (for as long as they deserve it):

  1. Partisanism works both ways, so he is trying to say no one will ever have a wave again.
  2. Seats staying partisan is the same point made again.
  3. Wait, you can lose a seat? Are they partisan or not?
  4. If the sandwich is running against anything with an "R" next to it, it's got my vote.
  5. If this was a factor, why didn't a single voter mention it in exit polls?
  6. Of course not. Remember the 2020 RNC "platform?" It was, literally, "Whatever Trump says."

In other words, all of his reasons apply to both parties equally, except that last one (or, like #5, are just nonsense they like to tell themselves). He tries to emphasize that ham sandwich thing, saying Democrats are "more loyal" than Republicans. He must not have heard of Boebert, Jordan, Gaetz, Taylor-Greene, or any of the other deli cuts who all just got re-elected in spite of passing no legislation and delivering no constituent services.

He mentions Donald Trump exactly once, after his list of reasons, when he says this:

Going back to Pennsylvania, the fight over who should have been the Republican candidate for Senate could well have cost Republicans the seat. Republican Senate candidate Dr. Mehmet Oz was former President Donald Trump’s choice and that did not sit well with the Pennsylvania Republican establishment nor with the Washington establishment.

Ah yes, "the Washington establishment." Them. This was all their fault. Somehow, his own party's elected senior people are to blame for the fact that Trump's man lost. Which ignores the biggest reason that he did: he lost because he was Trump's man. So did Kari Lake in her bid for governor of Arizona. And Don Bolduc, trying for senate in New Hampshire. And some others. Not all of Trump's people lost, but the winners won in places where Republicans always win anyway (despite  Del Beccaro's reason #4).

Now, this kind of thinking is good for Democrats, because it is so very badly wrong. My blog editor only numbers lists from 1 to 2 and so on, while Del Beccaro used the clever count-down format, going from 6 down to 1. I think he meant for that to denote increasing importance (though how that puts reliance on goverment ahead of partisan districts is puzzling). Following that logic, the seventh entry, numbered "0," appropriately enough, and by far the most imporant, should have been this:

0. Trump

But he didn't make the list at all, which means Republican commentators are already guiding their readers away from the one reason their party did so poorly. Yes, Trump is still a factor and may well get their nomination. We can't ignore him, not at all. But he continues to obsess over an election he lost, telling the same increasingly tired story about why it had to be stolen (briefly, because it was historically not very likely to go the way it did, which can be said about a lot of elections).

Trump is wearing out the few swing voters there are who voted for him in 2016 and their subset who voted for him again in 2020. If he keeps it up, he'll drain them of any support for him they have left, which is very clearly what he is doing every day. If the Republican commentators would like to blame something else, that should be fine by us. The more Trump stays in the game, the more we are going to win.

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