The latest example came Wednesday night when Trump issued this statement via his Save America PAC:
“If we don’t solve the Presidential Election Fraud of 2020 (which we have thoroughly and conclusively documented), Republicans will not be voting in ’22 or ’24. It is the single most important thing for Republicans to do.”
If you built a statement in a lab, you would be hard-pressed to make it more counterproductive to Republican efforts to win back the House and Senate majorities they lost in the Trump years.
What Trump is saying, quite simply, is that unless and until he is restored as president — due to (nonexistent) voter fraud during the 2020 presidential election — Republican voters should withhold their votes in the 2022 midterms (and the 2024 presidential election).
It’s reminiscent of the “strategy” used by Trump’s “legal” team during the Georgia Senate runoffs earlier this year.
Sidney Powell urged “all Georgians to make it known that you will not vote at all until your vote is secure — and I mean that regardless of party.” Lin Wood, meanwhile, told voters that “this is Georgia. We ain’t dumb. We’re not going to go vote on Jan. 5 on another machine made by China.”
Both Republican incumbents lost the runoffs and, in so doing, Democrats seized the Senate majority. Absolutely brilliant “strategery” there by Powell and Wood.
Now, Trump is lending his voice to the “don’t vote” crowd. And he’s doing so at a decidedly bad time — as Republicans quite clearly have the momentum nationally, fueled by President Joe Biden’s dipping approval ratings, the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and, of late, supply chain issues that threaten to bog down the American economy.
That national environment — coupled with historical data that suggests Republicans are primed to make pickups next November — have GOPers more optimistic than at any time since Trump’s loss in 2020.
Enter Trump — who seems hellbent on slowing (or stopping) that momentum as he pursues his own personal vendettas and agenda.
In addition to urging Republican voters not to vote in 2022 unless the 2020 results are overturned, Trump has spent the nine months of his post-presidency conducting an all-out war on fellow Republicans who he believes have grievously wronged him.
Trump has endorsed primary challengers to the likes of Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney and Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski and rejoiced in the retirement of Ohio Rep. Anthony Gonzalez. All three voted to impeach Trump following the January 6 riot at the US Capitol.
The former president has also repeatedly attacked Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, referring to the Kentucky Republican as the “most overrated man in politics.” And he’s endorsed Senate candidates that McConnell (and the party establishment) had expressed doubts about — from Herschel Walker in Georgia to Mo Brooks in Alabama to Sean Parnell in Pennsylvania.
Taken as a whole, it’s hard to see how Trump could be less helpful to Republicans as they put together the pieces of a campaign they hope restores their majorities in the House and Senate. And why? Because Trump is all about Trump. He does what he wants — and what he thinks benefits him politically — first, second and always.