The GOP came out with a mixed bag of solid wins and unfortunate losses in yesterday’s off-year election. We are going to run through the results in the various states, we’re going to analyze the mistakes, and we are going to see why some of the results were so disappointing, and learn what we can do about it!
– Kentucky had mixed results with down-ticket Republican candidates winning but the GOP losing the gubernatorial race.
– Ohio passed a referendum enshrining abortion rights and access into the constitution, although a future referendum might propose limits.
– The GOP needs to engage in significant voter outreach and political renovation to ensure Trump’s base becomes theirs, as they face a turnout problem without Trump on the ballot.
The big win coming out of yesterday was the Trump-endorsed Mississippi governor race, Tate Reeves who soundly defeated the Democrat Brandon Presley, who is Elvis’ second cousin. Brandon Presley looked like he was surging, so it was closer than the GOP would have wanted. This win dovetails with the big win in Louisiana a few weeks ago with Trump-endorsed Jeff Landry who won the governor’s mansion. Lynn Fitch, the Republican Attorney General, easily won reelection as well. All the Republican candidates stomped their Democrat opponents, so Mississippi is and remains solid red.
Mixed results were coming out of Kentucky. All the Republican candidates for the attorney general, secretary of state, and other down-ticket Republicans swept, except for the governor’s race. The Republican gubernatorial candidate Daniel Cameron lost to the popular Democrat governor, Andy Beshear who comes from a long-established Kentucky political dynasty. Cameron had Trump’s endorsement, but he did not run a very good campaign. The Republican Governor’s Association that starved Doug Mastriano of every penny of funding in Pennsylvania, did not give Cameron much help.
Cameron has also been closely associated with Mitch McConnell over the years. He was McConnell’s legal counsel in the Senate, and McConnell’s aid was part of his campaign. There may be some bitterness among the MAGA crowd against anyone associated with McConnell. Moreover, voter turnout in Kentucky was only about 30%, so Cameron didn’t get the vote out. The GOP still dominates Kentucky by far. They have 80% of the legislative seats in Kentucky, but for whatever reason, they decided to stick with their Democrat for their governor.
In Virginia, the Democrats retained control of the Senate. They took control of the state assembly, which was a loss for Glenn Youngkin. Virginia should have seen a better result for the GOP and unfortunately, they didn’t deliver.
In Ohio, voters overwhelmingly approved a referendum enshrining abortion rights and access into their constitution as a backlash against the overturning of Roe v Wade. Typical of these referendums, it is unfortunately a radical one. It has a health provision that will allow abortions up until birth, which ironically most Ohioans oppose.
We can expect another referendum in 2024 that will propose limiting abortion most likely to the first trimester, something akin to the Dobbs law in Mississippi, and that should pass if the pro-life messaging is on point. Ohio voters want abortion, but they want limits on it. So they are going to go back and forth with various referendums before they find that equilibrium.
In the Pennsylvania supreme court race, Democrat Daniel McCaffery soundly beat Republican Carolyn Carluccio, and unfortunately, the Pennsylvania Republican Party is in shambles right now. They are a RINO establishment mess. The Republican establishment is hated by rural populist patriot voters in Pennsylvania. We saw it last night. They are just not coming out to vote for the GOP.
The establishment hack Ronna McDaniel, the head of the RNC, is an incompetent disaster. The reason for that is she has yet to figure out how to tap into the rising populist vote that is thoroughly pro-Trump. Republicans are learning once again the hard way, just like in 2022, that Trump’s base is not the Republicans’ base. Just because Trump wins a state or a county does not mean a Republican is going to win it.
In Ohio, a state Trump won twice by 10 points, Biden is beating DeSantis. Trump’s base is not the Republicans’ base. It can be, but the Republicans are going to have to go through a major, political renovation. They are going to have to completely turn their backs on the RINOs and their pro-open borders, pro-war establishment if they want to initiate Trump’s base as their own. The counties in Kentucky that went overwhelmingly for Trump in both 2016 and 2020 did not go for Cameron. This is a unique problem that Ronna McDaniel appears incapable of resolving.
Trump is essentially a third-party candidate who won a major party nomination, and just because a county or state overwhelmingly votes in favor of Trump does not mean they are going to vote for the Republican candidate. The Republican Party is going to have to do some major voter outreach like Scott Presler is doing if they are going to build those bridges to ensure that Trump voters automatically become their voters. Until then, if Trump is not on the ballot, the Republicans are going to continue to suffer from a turnout problem. If Republicans don’t initiate massive turnout drives, we are going to continue to see disappointing results like this.
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