The ‘Trump effect’ was poisonous for Republicans in 2022, Dec. 7.  Herschel Walkers 100,000-vote loss in Georgia puts the exclamation point on the “Donald Trump is electoral poison” narrative. If the former president had deliberately attempted to sabotage the Republicans’ chances ever since November 2020, he could not have been more destructive than he actually was.

In the Senate, the Trump effect meant Republicans lost chances at a whopping 10 seats (one of them two times!) they either should have won or in which they might have been competitive. In the House, Trump’s harm was more diffused, but almost equally baleful.

On Jan. 5, 2021, Republicans lost two Senate seats in Georgia they almost assuredly would have won if Trump had not depressed Republican turnout by waging verbal war on Georgia’s Republican governor and secretary of state. Then, in the 2022 cycle, Trump’s direct endorsements or his attacks or threatened attacks on otherwise winnable candidates doomed Republicans in nine states (and almost doomed them in otherwise Republican Ohio).

Arizona should have been a relatively easy GOP win. Gov. Doug Ducey is popular, but Trump’s baseless attacks helped keep him from the race. Superb, conservative Attorney General Mark Brnovich did try for the Senate nomination and would probably have won the general election, but Trump absolutely trashed him while endorsing Blake Masters — an oddball with an arguably antisemitic past who twice in the past 18 months actually praised the manifesto of the Unabomber.

In Pennsylvania, against a radical, stroke-addled, failed Democratic former mayor of a tiny town, Trump ignored solid businessman Dave McCormick in favor of Mehmet Oz, a quack-ish TV doctor who lived in New Jersey and carried political water for Turkish Islamist strongman Recep Tayyip Erdogan. In New Hampshire, both the extremely popular governor, Chris Sununu, and the admired former senator, Kelly Ayotte (the latter of whom lost by only 1,017 votes in 2016 while running better than Trump did), declined to run, it seems, because they didn’t want to deal with Trump’s abuse. Instead, the nominee was election denier Don Bolduc, who repeatedly insisted his state’s public schools were making young children use kitty litter instead of commodes….. [The full column is here.]



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