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Donald Trump wasn’t on the midterm ballot, but he lost anyway

Donald Trump expected to wake up on Wednesday as his party’s ultimate kingmaker. Instead, he's never been politically weaker than he is right now.


Donald Trump probably scheduled an appearance at Mar-a-Lago on Tuesday with certain expectations. Like much of his party, the former president had spent recent weeks expressing great confidence about dramatic Republican gains in the midterm elections, and the watch party at his glorified country club was supposed to be a celebration.

That is, until attendees started taking stock of the election results as they came in.

Trump unconvincingly described the night as an “interesting evening,” before wrapping up his appearance quickly.

It was just as well. After all, there wasn’t much else he could say. As a Washington Post report summarized:

Midterms are inevitably a referendum on the party in power, but Trump made this year’s about him, as well. Though not on the ballot himself, the “Trump ticket” was, as he called his slate of endorsed candidates in key states.

While it’s not yet clear how all of the Trump-backed candidates have fared in high-profile, statewide contests, some of his candidates — including Mehmet Oz in Pennsylvania — have already lost, and as the political world takes stock of the results, it’s hard not to notice that Republicans were burdened by weak and failed candidates chosen directly by the former president.

One GOP insider told Fox News, “If it wasn’t clear before, it should be now: We have a Trump problem.” The network ran this report Wednesday morning:

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.

I’m starting to think putting the party’s direction in the hands of a twice-impeached, corrupt former president — who lost the popular vote twice — was unwise.

Indeed, the current circumstances couldn’t be much worse for the former president. On the legal front, Trump is currently facing criminal investigations that might lead to his indictment. On the polling front, the Republican remains broadly unpopular. And on the electoral front, he went out of his way to insert himself into the midterm elections, which were supposed to be a great success for the GOP — and might’ve been far better if he hadn’t prioritized loyalty to himself above all other considerations.

He expected to wake up on Wednesday as his party’s ultimate kingmaker. Instead, as the dust settles on Election Day, Trump has never been politically weaker than he is right now.

The former president wasn’t on the ballot, but he managed to lose anyway.