Lockdown Donald costs Republicans again
Trump's meddling clears path to DeSantis presidency
By Adam Edwards
WITH a little over a week to go, the “red wave” looked like it might turn into a tsunami. States that you would never expect to turn red like New York were on the cusp of electing Republican governors.
Both the House of Representatives and the Senate were expected to flip by large margins. And all the swing states were lining up behind either a Republican senator, Republican governor – or both.
Unfortunately for the Republicans, the predicted red wave got “Tangoed”; just days before polling Donald Trump took to the campaign trail to hint that he might use this upsurge in Republican support to make a second run for the White House.
Disgruntled Democrats, who had been keen to punish their party over rising inflation and Covid-era mandates, were spooked out of voting Republican.
New York pulled up the Democratic drawbridge, Pennsylvania flipped its Senate seat from red to blue and the much-anticipated red wave turned into a purple puddle.
If hinting at a Presidential return was not daft enough, the ex-President also turned on his own side, attacking rising Republican star Florida governor Ron DeSantis, or “Ron DeSanctimonious” as Trump christened him.
It was a tactical move. DeSantis is seen as Trump’s main rival for the Republican presidential nomination.
The lockdown-supporting, China-praising ex-president also has priors where DeSantis is concerned, having clashed with the Florida governor for refusing to shutter his state in 2020.
Trump has clearly not forgotten the incident.
Luckily for DeSantis, neither have Floridians. If November 8 was bad for Republicans, Florida was the exception. DeSantis, who only scraped into office four years ago, looks to have beaten his Democratic rival by just shy of 20 percentage points.
What’s more, he has turned former Democrat strongholds like Miami-Dade and Tampa red and won majority support among many typically Democrat-voting demographics, including Hispanics, women, college graduates and those with post-graduate degrees. Exit polls
Unlike other Republicans, who were afraid to highlight their rivals’ Covid-era authoritarianism (due to the Republican party’s support for lockdowns under Trump), DeSantis’s campaign centred around his anti-lockdown credentials and his promise to “Keep Florida Free”. Much was made of his refusal to implement vaccine mandates and his role in squashing attempts at national lockdowns, vax passes and mandates.
In other states, many Americans now face the real prospect of a return to such mandates – and the introduction of “no vax, no school” policies – thanks to Lockdown Donald’s intervention in the elections.
But his meddling has also shown how unlikely the Republicans are to win in 2024 if Trump is on the ticket.
This is good news for those of us in the rest of the world. We know that mandates will never go away while America is still advocating them.
So while Trump may have got the world into this mess with his knee-jerk travel ban in early 2020, by pushing the Republican Party towards the rabidly anti-mandate DeSantis, he may have helped get us back out again.