Our 2020 book is titled Divided We Stand: The 2020 Elections and American Politics. Among other things, it discusses the state of the parties. The state of the GOP is not good.
“Nine months ago, Republicans were questioning DONALD TRUMP’s place as the lead fixture of their party. Saturday night provided the clearest evidence yet that they want him right there.”
This morning’s must-read piece comes from Meridith McGraw, reporting from Saturday night’s Trump rally in Des Moines, Iowa, where we saw a clear glimpse of two interrelated dynamics that are shaping the GOP as it marches into the 2022 midterms:
1) There’s a big gap between the GOP message and Trump’s message. On Saturday night we heard both from Trump himself — the former when he read the speech that was written for him, and the latter when he said what he really thought.
— The GOP message: “After just nine months under [President JOE] BIDEN, violent criminals and bloodthirsty gangs are taking over our streets; illegal aliens and deadly drug cartels are taking over our borders; inflation is taking over our economy; China’s taking over our jobs; the Taliban has taken over Afghanistan; lunatic leftists are taking over our schools; and radical socialists are taking over our country — and we’re not going to let that happen.”
— Trump’s message: “I’m telling you the single biggest issue, as bad as the border is and it’s horrible, horrible what they’re doing, they’re destroying our country — but as bad as that is, the single biggest issue — the issue that gets the most pull, the most respect, the biggest cheers — is talking about the election fraud of the 2020 presidential election.”
That’s a problem for Republicans. Many of them want to make the midterm elections about the issues — inflation, the border, Afghanistan, etc. — to set the election up as a referendum on Biden’s presidency. Trump doesn’t. The bulk of his speech, Meridith writes, “was devoted to his baseless claim [that] the 2020 election was stolen.” In focusing on that issue above all others, Trump effectively makes the 2022 election a referendum on him instead of Biden.
“I don’t mean to be crude,” [Iowa GOP chair Jeff] Kaufmann said. But Trump to many Iowans represents “the middle finger to doing things the same old way, to the fat cats and the corporate welfare that Democrats now support and Republicans supported in the past. He represents an exasperation — people saying enough is enough.”
"this is the beginning of communism" pic.twitter.com/OerByDPboY— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) October 10, 2021