The 2022 midterms someday could be remembered as the “revenge of the normal” election. Normal Americans asserted their independence and rebuked charlatans and extremists of varying types on both sides. Voters didn’t define “normal” as ideologically moderate or milquetoast. Instead, they rewarded candidates like Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who delivered results and fought aggressively for his agenda within the Founders’ framework of principled pluralism.
Yet, despite the obvious rebuke to his style of politics, Donald Trump announced his 2024 presidential candidacy in a low-energy speech loaded with language appealing to his loyal base. He decried the “blood soaked streets of our once great cities” and complained about “radical left lunatics running our government right into the ground.” He checked off other boxes from the Trump bingo card: “our rigged and corrupt system,” “censorship,” “Barack Hussein Obama.” Just a few short days after a midterm shellacking, Trump quadrupled down on a strategy that failed in the last three national elections.
The midterms showed the determination and willingness of Republican voters to reject “Trumpy” candidates while embracing normal, conservative Republicans. Trumpworld shouldn’t find comfort in the tactical divisions among “Never Trumpers.” The reality is that millions of voters are united in their disdain for Trump and are unwilling to hold their noses and vote for him.
In New Hampshire, Ohio, Georgia, and Arizona “Team Normal” outperformed “Team Trump.” In New Hampshire, Gov. Chris Sununu was reelected with 57.2 percent of the vote while Trump-endorsed Senate candidate Don Bolduc received 44.4 percent and lost. In Ohio, Gov. Mike DeWine won with 62.8 percent while Senate candidate J.D. Vance won with 53.3 percent. In Georgia, Brian Kemp earned 53.4 percent while Senate candidate Herschel Walker received 48.5 percent. Arizona is a fascinating study, where fiscally conservative star and State Treasurer Kimberly Yee won with 55.5 percent of the vote. Yee was the state’s top Republican vote-getter. She outperformed gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake by about 6 points and Senate candidate Blake Masters by more than 9 points.
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