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Attorney General Merrick Garland’s raid on Mar-a-Lago has ex-President Donald Trump back in the news. That’s a problem for Republicans, who need to move beyond him.
Yes, Trump did much good in his four years: Notice how Democrats have opted not to repeal his tax cuts. But he lost in 2020 because too many Americans — especially moderates — had gotten sick of his self-indulgent behavior. Since then, his egomania has only grown.
Until the raid, Republicans were considering a talented field of potential 2024 candidates. Trump’s lead in the polls over Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (currently the most likely alternative) had been edging down for months. DeSantis even came out on top in a survey in bellwether New Hampshire.
But now Trump has pulled back up — and there’s a direct link to how GOP prospects in this year’s midterms have turned less rosy.
In a much-noted Twitter thread, high-profile conservative Ben Shapiro rightly warns Republicans that they’re playing into Democrats’ hands, and denting what should be their huge gains on Nov. 8, if they focus on Trump rather than Biden’s ongoing disasters.
President Joe Biden’s insane student-loan giveaway and spending blowouts — stoking inflation not seen for four decades — matter a lot more to voters.
Not to mention a southern border that Biden’s opened to 3-million-and-still-rising illegal migrants — and a direct consequence of this is the invasion of drug cartels and the killer drug fentanyl pouring onto our streets.
You can add in how his Afghanistan bugout increased the world terror threat and likely emboldened Vladimir Putin to invade Ukraine.
All that, and more, should make for a Republican landslide in November, as GOP voters show up in force, dispirited Dems stay home and independents vote against the party that’s wrought all these disasters.
There’s a reason Biden hasn’t done a single on-camera interview with an American media outlet for 200 days now: He can’t defend his record even under friendly questioning.
But if the focus is on Trump instead, enraged Democrats will unite, pause their internecine warring while independents will abstain or vote against the GOP.
Yes, Trump still has most of his true believers. But most Republicans would rather the ex-president went away, so the party can figure out where it’s going in the post-Trump future.
That is, how to solidify what could be a natural GOP majority, incorporating all the voters who reject Democrats’ increasingly disturbing social and economic agendas — which play only to the obsessions of the woke cultural elite.
Those GOPers know Trump’s already an albatross: His “stolen election” derangement in late 2020 is why Dems control the Senate now, and his endorsements in this year’s primaries have helped saddle Republicans with enough weak Senate candidates this year that retaking the chamber seems increasingly out of reach.
Plus, for all the tens of millions Trump has raised since leaving the White House, he hasn’t yet spent any of it even to help the candidates he’s endorsed.
The House outlook still leans the GOP’s way — but Democrats are starting to imagine they have a chance to hold on.
The next 10 weeks will be decisive. Democrats and the media will want to keep it all about Trump — he’s great for ratings and clicks, and they don’t want to review Biden’s horrific record anyway.
Republicans, and their candidates, need to keep the focus firmly on the big picture. Namely: Biden and the Democrats are an ongoing disaster — and Donald Trump is no help in digging America out of it.