ANALYSIS – The midterm elections have reminded us that the country is more divided than any time since the Civil War.
While the GOP is likely to retake the House with a narrow majority, the Senate is still split evenly with a runoff in Georgia likely to decide control in January.
Meanwhile the red wave, or tsunami many predicted, including me, turned to a ripple.
Abortion and Trump tip the scales.
While there is, and will be, a lot of finger-pointing among conservatives for the tepid results, I believe there may have been a few factors at play beyond just an evenly split and polarized country.
Among them is the abortion issue.
While the standard narrative is that the Dobbs Supreme Court decision removing the wrongly decided ‘constitutional right to abortion’ mobilized the left against a highly unfavorable decision, I would argue that conservatives simply caved on the issue.
They allowed the left to set the narrative and at times added fuel to the fire by pushing too fast on added restrictions giving Democrats a bogeyman to scream at.
Instead, the GOP should have defended Dobbs and the Court, and positioned itself as the reasonable party on abortion.
“Let states decide. The left is extreme on abortion.” That’s how we should have played it.
While I am strongly pro-life, I understand political reality.
As Pew Research notes:
A majority of Americans say abortion should be legal in all or most cases, but many are open to restrictions; many opponents of legal abortion say it should be legal in some circumstances.
This is why instead of running from the issue in fear or focusing on pushing more restrictions immediately after Dobs, the GOP should have zeroed in on Democrats’ radical abortion-on-demand, anytime, anywhere agenda.
This approach could have helped neutralize a lot of the fears of middle-of-the-road Americans fueled by the left and its media allies.
But beyond the abortion issue, former president Trump likely played an outsized role in the red wave turning to a ripple.
As Fox News reports:
Many conservatives put the blame on former President Donald Trump for the GOP’s underwhelming midterm election results, which saw Trump candidates across the country failing to gain office.
Many conservative commentators took the election results as a sign it was time for the GOP to move on from Trump. Commentators argued that Trump had endorsed outlandish candidates who turned easy victories into close races, and close races into losses.
Others compared Trump’s failure to secure wins across the country with the huge wave of support for Republicans in Gov. Ron DeSantis’ Florida.
“All the chatter on my conservative and GOP channels is rage at Trump like I’ve never seen,” Michael Brendan Dougherty, a senior writer at National Review, wrote on Twitter. “‘The one guy he attacked before Election Day was DeSantis — the clear winner, meanwhile, all his guys are s—ing the bed.'”
And as someone who has been a strong Trump supporter, and voted for Trump twice, I believe this sentiment has validity.
Continuous ranting about election fraud in 2020 makes the future about the past.
And forcefully demanding GOP loyalty to one man doesn’t help either.
It also makes everything about Trump rather than conservative ideas, policies, and candidates.
But most importantly it doesn’t win elections.
Nothing mobilizes the Democrats, the media, and the Left like Trump.
As one reader, redryder996, commented beneath the Fox piece:
People voted against Trump, who was not on the ballot. This is a repudiation of Trump, as a person and as a candidate. If we want to elect a conservative government in 2024, Trump must not be in the picture.
Opinions expressed by contributors do not necessarily reflect the views of Great America News Desk.