Trump’s new presidential campaign has gotten off to a poor start. The Republican defeat in the Georgia runoff election was the latest cold shower for the former president.
Georgia’s Senate race poured more cold water on former President Donald Trump’s declining situation. Trump-backed candidate Herschel Walker lost the runoff to Democrat Raphael Warnock. The result was expected, given how bad a candidate Walker was, having been found have three secret children and two girlfriends whose abortions he allegedly paid for during the campaign — not the best way to appeal to conservatives.
The runoff election was the culmination of a better-than-expected November midterm for the Democrats, who suffered a narrow defeat in the House of Representatives but went on to win the Senate. Amid a difficult economic climate, these were excellent results for the Democrats. Many Republicans blamed Trump, who promoted people who supported him.
Georgia’s voters helped the Democrats win a majority in the Senate with a 51-49 split, overcoming a 50-50 split in the Senate for the last two years. The split gave Republicans a great deal of influence, although Vice President Kamala Harris was able to cast the deciding vote for the Democrats.
The strong midterm election results have also reinvigorated President Joe Biden, who just turned 80. He is expected to announce a run for a second term shortly after Christmas.
Trump announced his candidacy three weeks ago, but everything has gone wrong for him since. In late November, Trump sparked outrage by having lunch with rap artist Ye — formerly Kanye West — and Nick Fuentes, a far-right antisemitic political commentator, after which Ye publicly expressed his admiration for Adolf Hitler.
The problem for Trump is that many of his staunchest supporters are far-right fanatics who took to heart Trump’s suggestions of taking direct action to gain power. This contingent believes Trump has betrayed his own supporters by not offering sufficient support to convicted Capitol rioters, among others.
Trump tried to patch up his differences with this group by posting a message on his own Truth Social platform that all rules, including the Constitution, could be set aside to correct the 2020 “election fraud.” It came as a surprise to the Republican Party, which plans to start its term in the House of Representatives with a live reading of the Constitution.
Many Republicans have criticized Trump without taking any position on his 2024 presidential bid. This is due both to fear and hope: fear that Trump will incite supporters to attack his critics, and hope that he will fail in his own time. And it looks that way, as his downward spiral has gained further momentum in the courts.
A long legal battle ended when the U.S. Supreme Court refused to stop Congress from obtaining Trump’s presidential tax records from the IRS. The New York Supreme Court found the Trump family business guilty of tax fraud for distributing vehicle and housing benefits, among other perks, to its executives without paying taxes. The verdict could also lead to legal action against Trump himself.
The attacks from all sides indicate that Trump is losing his grip, but it is also likely that the sharks have smelled blood and are beginning to circle the former president. There are also plenty of sharks within Trump’s own party, where many hope the Republican nightmare will end, and the party will return from being the cult of one man to business as usual.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who has emerged as Trump’s top challenger in the Republican Party, has stayed on the sidelines and hasn’t missed a step as Trump has dug himself deeper into a hole.