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Trump Costs GOP The Senate

O say can you see ... defeat. POTUS looks out at Election Eve Georgia rally for Senate loser Kelly Loeffler (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)

As of this writing (1 a.m. Central time on Wednesday), there has been no official call of the two US Senate races in Georgia, but they are almost certainly going to go to the Democrats. Raphael Warnock is slightly ahead of Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler, and though incumbent Sen. David Perdue ever so slightly leads Democrat Jon Ossoff, all the votes left to come in are from overwhelmingly Democratic areas. Unless there’s some miracle for the GOP, the state of Georgia’s Senate delegation has flipped to blue overnight, and Republicans have lost control of the US Senate.

These things happen when a losing Republican president spends two months promoting crackpot conspiracy theories about how his election was stolen, and urging, and allowing his minions to urge, Georgia Republican voters to stay home to teach state GOP officials a lesson about how they ought to have served Trump’s interests rather than the law.

If Warnock and Ossoff win, the Senate will be tied at 50-50. Vice President Kamala Harris will cast the deciding vote in the event of a tie. Democrats will control the Senate. Unless Republicans can hold party discipline and convince West Virginia’s Joe Manchin to break with his party on key votes, President Biden can get whatever he wants.

Think of all the liberal federal judges that we’ll have, including possibly Supreme Court justices. Think of the new states of Puerto Rico and Washington, DC, each coming in with two Senators. Think of the Equality Act, which the Democratic Congress will pass, and President Biden will sign. (N.B., it could be filibustered, but given the cowardice the Congressional GOP has shown on SOGI issues over the past few years, I think it probably wouldn’t be that hard for the Dems to get the 10 Republican senators they would need to break the filibuster). It would write sexual orientation and gender identity into federal civil rights law — with devastating consequences for social and religious conservatives, and anyone who doesn’t believe that a biological male with a penis who says he is a woman should have access to women-only spaces, and compete in women’s athletics.

Look, David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler were not good candidates. But that didn’t matter. Holding the Senate was the only way to put some reins on Joe Biden and the woke Democratic Party. Now, thanks to Trump’s insane campaign to suppress the Georgia Republican vote, there is nothing stopping Biden except the occasional objections of Joe Manchin.

To be fair, this might have had something to do with it:

But I don’t know how you overcome the bizarre signaling from Trump and his minions that Georgia GOP voters ought to sit this one out (but maybe not, but okay, maybe so).

After stabbing his party in the back in Georgia, the president tweeted tonight:



Pence doesn’t have the authority to do this, and if he did, it would be an outrage to decertify state votes. Trump is trying to set Pence up as a scapegoat for his own loss.

What is MAGA Nation going to do now? How is it going to avoid blaming Trump for costing the Republicans the Senate? I don’t know, but I am confident that they’ll find a way, probably involving faulting Mitt Romney and David French. Though the Trump era ends with a Democrat in the White House, and Democrats in control of both houses of Congress, one must never forget that Trump cannot fail; he can only be failed.

UPDATE: Gosh, they seem nice:

UPDATE.2: From TAC’s Curt Mills’s excellent election recap:

“It’s not conceptually impossible for the GOP to incorporate [Make America Great Again]-type political goals without Trump’s general nuttiness and inattention to actual governance,” Scott McConnell, founder editor of The American Conservative, told me. “But it will require real talent from politicians who haven’t yet demonstrated it. At least such efforts will be aided by internecine battles between Democratic neoliberals and an energized left, which will be vicious.”

“The GOP has no chance of revival by a return to Romney-style country-clubism,” McConnell said. “And Trump himself is finished.”

“Trump did not win the presidency in 2016 simply because he had a cameo in Home Alone 2 and an uncanny talent for Twitter,” Julius Krein writes in The Guardian. “He also outlined a wide-ranging, if inchoate, critique of the bipartisan policy consensus that had dominated American politics since the end of the cold war: a failed combination of ‘neoliberal’ economics at home and military adventurism abroad.”

Krein says: “The glaring underestimation of Trump in the past and probable overestimation of his prospects today actually stem from the same error: the belief that Trump’s political appeal rests mainly on his personality cult, not on any association with a certain set of policy arguments.”

The GOP old guard really cannot come back — and they shouldn’t! But it is massively important for the populists in the party to leave Trump behind now. He’s done. The longer they stay fixated on him, as their Medusa, the harder it becomes to make any progress toward building a viable populist conservatism that can win. If Trump had acted like the future of the Republican Party, and of conservative governance, was more important to him than preserving his own brand, the Senate probably would have stayed in Republican hands. Too many people cannot stand the crazy and the conspiracies. Trump has failed. He has lost. Leave him behind, and go forward to build a conservative populism that knows how to govern, and knows how to reach people who aren’t keen on voting Democratic, but are simply sick to death of the psychotic reality-TV drama.

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. A veteran of three decades of magazine and newspaper journalism, he has also written three New York Times bestsellers—Live Not By Lies, The Benedict Option, and The Little Way of Ruthie Lemingas well as Crunchy Cons and How Dante Can Save Your Life. Dreher lives in Baton Rouge, La.

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