Donald Trump is all about winning.
“We’re going to win so much,” he said on the campaign trail in 2016. “You’re going to get tired of winning. You’re going to say, ‘Please Mr. President, I have a headache. Please, don’t win so much. This is getting terrible.’ And I’m going to say, ‘No, we have to make America great again.’ You’re gonna say, ‘Please.’ I said, ‘Nope, nope. We’re gonna keep winning.’”
Trump’s entire persona is wrapped up in this notion that – with apologies to DJ Khaled – all he does is win. In his view, he is the ultimate winner in life – He’s rich! He’s successful! He’s famous! – and the only people who don’t acknowledge that are the haters and the losers.
Except that, in politics at least, Trump has lost a whole lot more than he has won.
Trump won the 2016 presidential race, yes. But since then the following things have happened:
* Republicans lost control of the House in 2018.
* Trump lost the White House in 2020.
* Republicans lost control of the Senate in 2021.
* Republicans dramatically underperformed despite high expectations in the 2022 midterm elections.
It’s that decidedly spotty record that a new op-ed from the Wall Street Journal’s editorial board zeroes in on as it makes the case that it’s time for the Republican Party to move on from the former president.
“Mr. Trump has botched the 2022 elections, and it could hand Democrats the Senate for two more years,” reads the op-ed. “Mr. Trump had policy successes as President, including tax cuts and deregulation, but he has led Republicans into one political fiasco after another.”
Yes, exactly that!
One of the more confounding things about Trump’s continued appeal to the Republican Party – at least to me – is his ability to maintain his position of power despite demonstrably poor results. Just 39% of the midterm electorate viewed him favorably, according to national exit polling.
There’s really no doubt about Trump’s record as the leader of the Republican Party. He has overseen considerable setbacks and disappointing performances time and again. He has pushed candidates with limited appeal outside of the most extreme parts of the Republican base who have failed to come close to victory in winnable seats. He has alienated moderates, independents and even a decent chunk of Republicans as well.
If ANY other politician had the sort of electoral record that Trump boasts, it’s hard for me to imagine politicians would continue paying obeisance to them. In fact, there would likely be some effort to push that politician to the side – and get rid of the whiff of defeat.
Why hasn’t that happened with Trump? Well, it’s at least in part because Trump has never conceded defeat – whether in the 2020 election or in any of the other contests I mentioned above.
“While in certain ways yesterday’s election was somewhat disappointing, from my personal standpoint it was a very big victory – 219 WINS and 16 losses in the General – Who has ever done better than that,” Trump said on his Truth Social website on Wednesday.
The facts, however, are the facts. Trump has lost at every turn since his stunning 2016 win. The question now is whether Republican voters wake up to that fact.