Earth to Republicans: Flipping the U.S. House of Representatives is not a defeat, no matter how much the legacy media and compliant Murdoch press (they of the curiously early calls for Biden on Election Day 2020) try to tell you.
Not all of the numbers are in — courtesy of multiple state voting systems that remain suspiciously flawed two years after the 2020 debacle and 22 years after the six-week Bush vs. Gore psychodrama — but we already know enough.
Counting declared victories and races in which Republican candidates lead, the GOP will have a majority. It will be smaller than the 20-30 seat majority predicted in recent weeks, but it will be a majority nevertheless.
The new House’s GOP Conference will, however, be the most conservative, and the most pro-Trump, ever elected.
About 140 of its members — or around two-thirds of those poised to take office in January — deny the results of 2020 presidential election.
The Freedom Caucus, the House’s most conservative faction, which strongly backs the former president but does not include all of even his most fanatical supporters, will be substantially larger than its already influential 43 members in the last Congress.
Only one of its past adherents, Rep. Yvette Herrell, R N.M., was defeated, and then only by a slender margin in a blue state.
Three other Freedom Caucus members retired, while another, Ted Budd of North Carolina, was elected to the Senate with Trump’s endorsement.
The new House will include at least 15 newly arriving freshmen who are also avowed election deniers and will enlargen the militant pro-Trump faction.
One of them, Wisconsin’s Derrick Van Orden, was a Jan. 6 protestor who flipped a Democratic seat.
At the same time, avowedly anti-Trump GOP congressmen were almost totally eliminated.
Of the 10 congressmen who voted in favor of Trump’s second impeachment, only two will still be in office in January.
Both of their campaigns assiduously avoided discussion of their impeachment votes.
Of the eight others, four lost their primaries to Trump-endorsed candidates — three of whom won last week.
Four others left politics rather than suffer the same likely fate.
No matter how much critics point fingers at the former president, the new House majority will be a vast Trumpian chorus drowning out a muted anti-Trump duet.
The new House leadership politics already reflects this reality.
Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., who is favored to be speaker, won Trump’s post-midterm endorsement for the post after groveling for nearly two years to convince him of his personal loyalty.
Even so, his position depends on a majority vote taken in the full chamber.
With all Democrats presumably voting against McCarthy, securing office from the small GOP majority will require near-unanimous support from his radicalized members.
Several congressmen who remain suspicious of him are openly advocating challenges to his leadership, while others are reportedly extracting major concessions from him on appointments, policies, priorities, and procedures, including procedures to ease removing the speaker if he should displease them or their Mar-a-Lago master.
Likely House majority leader Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., is a steadfast 2020 election denier who voted to decertify state election results.
So is Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., chairwoman of the GOP’s House Conference, who has already endorsed Trump’s 2024 reelection bid, before he even announced it.
Politico.com reports that all House leadership appointments may depend on demonstrated loyalty to the former president and his future ambitions.
The Senate will also be more conservative, even if the Republicans’ best hope, pending Georgia’s Dec. 6 runoff favoring Herschel Walker, is a tied chamber.
Like the House, the upper chamber will also shift considerably to the right.
Of the seven senators who voted to convict Trump in his second impeachment, only three will still be there in January.
Retiring Senator Richard Burr’s seat was won by the Trump-endorsed Ted Budd, while Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, the only one of seven who was up for reelection this year, is currently trailing Trump-endorsed fellow Republican Kelly Tshibaka in Alaska’s as yet undecided ranked-choice election.
Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., who resigned mid-term, will be replaced by another Republican appointed by his state’s governor.
Leaning farther right, elements of the Senate GOP are already maneuvering to depose Republican leader Mitch McConnell, a Trump antagonist widely blamed for failing to support Trump-endorsed candidates, who were dramatically outspent and consequently unperformed in a number of races.
Trump himself is reportedly politicking against McConnell from Mar-a-Lago.
At least nine current Republican senators have publicly endorsed "serious discussions" about the future of the leadership prior to reelecting McConnell. The Senate will also be more conservative, even if the Republicans’ best hope, pending Georgia’s December 6 runoff favoring Herschel Walker, is a tie.
Beyond the halls of Congress, the GOP can look with great satisfaction to gubernatorial victories in Texas, Arkansas, Ohio, Iowa, Georgia, Nevada, South Dakota, and above all Florida, where Gov. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., outperformed all polling predictions and cruised to a massive 20-point victory.
Gov. DeSantis’s success was so dramatic that the real story of the 2022 midterms is not why Republicans "lost," but whether they should be led by Trump or by the Florida governor.
A poll taken a few days before the midterms put Trump ahead of DeSantis by 50 points.
A brutal primary battle for the 2024 nomination would be a disaster for the party.
The Democrats and the discredited neoconservative leftovers are already fanning its flames, even though Trump's is massively favored to use it.
How, or if, a primary catastrophe can be avoided remains to be seen, but regardless of its ultimate outcome the congressional GOP stands more firmly behind Trump now than it did a week ago.
Republicans should stop wringing their hands, disband their circular firing squad, get to work, and keep winning.
Paul du Quenoy is president of the Palm Beach Freedom Institute. He holds a Ph.D. in history from Georgetown University. Read more — Here.
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