- The Washington Times
Monday, November 14, 2022


Another close election draws to a close. After a week of counting “post-election” ballots, the results are almost in.

Heads, they win. Tails, you lose.

Oh, and it’s all Donald Trump’s fault.

The whole reason Republican politicians in Washington blame Donald Trump for all their party’s losses is that otherwise, they would have to blame Republican Permanent Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who just failed to secure a majority in the most favorable political environment for the GOP in decades.

If a football coach failed this badly, he would get sacked. If you failed this badly at your job, you would be fired.

But this is Washington, where nobody ever misses a meal. The House always wins.

So, it was fitting that much of the uncertainty came out of Las Vegas with all the confusion over the “late early” ballots there. The innocent citizen would be better off if they just hit the slot machines instead.

In politics, the one-armed bandit is the best friend you are going to find. Even that dog you got is going to the bathroom on your leg — and telling you it’s raining.

It was all the bad candidates that Mr. Trump endorsed, they say.

Take John O’Dea in Colorado, who lost by 13 points. What a terrible candidate. Oh, wait. That was Mr. McConnell’s candidate.

Mr. Trump’s widely ridiculed candidate in New Hampshire, Don Bolduc, lost by 9 points — 4 points better than Mr. McConnell’s man.

Most of the infighting focuses on how much money Mr. McConnell spent in various races, including the $6 million he spent AGAINST the leading Republican candidate in Alaska. (It is so confusing only Washington politicians could come up with a scam like this.)

But, really, it’s all Mr. Trump’s fault because he failed to spend enough money helping the candidates he endorsed. 

Really? Then, pray tell, where was former President George W. Bush this past election? How much money did he raise to win back the Senate for Republicans?

What about in 2016? And 2020?

Oh, that’s right. As the party gasped and struggled to survive Mr. Bush’s legacy of war and open borders, Mr. Bush was busy throwing his vote away to help get Hillary Clinton elected in 2016 and Joe Biden elected in 2020.

But, really, it’s all Donald Trump’s fault.

It’s all so convoluted, but this is Republican leaders’ only hope to shift the blame since Mr. Trump was not on the ballot anywhere in 2022. And, of course, nor does he hold any official position of power within the party.

How did Republican political leaders in Washington survive all these years before Mr. Trump arrived on the scene to take all the blame for them?

Mr. McConnell has been in the United States Senate for 35 years. He has been in Senate leadership for 20 years. He has been a Republican leader since 2007.

In the years since Mr. McConnell assumed leadership, Mr. Trump’s 2016 victory is the high water mark of Republican success in Washington. And the issues Mr. Trump brought to the table — issues Republicans in Washington had ignored for decades — are the only bright future for the party right now.

And what about all the “bad candidates” before Mr. Trump even came along? 

Remember the lady from Delaware who during her campaign in 2010 was forced to announce: “I’m not a witch!” Or the guy from Missouri who opined about “legitimate rape” in 2012?

The list of “bad candidates” goes on and on and every one of them supposedly cost Republicans the majority in the U.S. Senate. And Donald Trump had nothing to do with any of them.

At some point, if you are the guy in charge, you have to admit that you are not very good at recruiting good, inspiring, capable candidates to run for public office. And you cannot blame your voters.

If you are a top leader in your party and you cannot even convince your own primary voters to support the best candidate, how can you possibly convince the broader population of voters to support that candidate in a general election?

See, the way elections work in a functioning republic is that it’s your fault if you are out of step with the voters. It is NEVER the fault of voters.

If you cannot comprehend that simple truth, then you are in the wrong line of work. And it’s time to give someone else a shot at fixing the mess.

• Charles Hurt is the opinion editor at The Washington Times.

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