“Florida Republicans have officially reached a milestone they’ve been trending toward for nearly a decade — outnumbering registered Florida Democrats for the first time in state history,” the Tampa Bay Times reports.
“Republican megadonor Miriam Adelson — the widow of casino mogul and longtime GOP kingmaker Sheldon Adelson — is staging a return to politics, positioning herself to be a force in the 2022 midterms and beyond,” Politico reports.
“Adelson, who with her husband formed the Republican Party’s most powerful donor couple for the last decade, quietly held meetings in her Las Vegas home with a select group of GOP leaders and potential 2024 presidential candidates in the last few days. It represents a coming out for the 75-year-old Adelson, who has kept a low political profile since her husband’s death in January, turning down requests for sit-downs with candidates and keeping her multibillion-dollar checkbook shut.”
“Two strikingly divergent visions of Republican political strength played out over the weekend at a conference of Jewish conservatives, the first major gathering of G.O.P. leaders since the party’s sweeping success in Tuesday’s elections. There were displays of blustery confidence. And there were calls for caution and restraint as party leaders tried to process their drastic gains,” the New York Times reports.
Looming over it all, and mostly addressed gingerly, was the uncertainty about whether Republicans could replicate their decisive gains with suburban voters, especially women, if former President Donald J. Trump remained the face of the party.
New York Times: “In the jigsaw puzzle that is electoral politics, Democrats have often focused their energy on swingy suburbs and voter-rich cities, content to mostly ignore many white, rural communities that lean conservative. The belief was, in part, that the party had already bottomed out there, especially during the Trump era, when Republicans had run up the numbers of white voters in rural areas to dizzying new heights.”
“Virginia, however, is proof: It can get worse…”
“Republicans have never had a demographic stronghold as reliable as Black voters have been for Democrats, a group that delivers as many as nine out of 10 votes for the party. But some Democratic leaders are now sounding the alarm: What if rural, white voters — of which there are many — start voting that reliably Republican?”
“In Tuesday’s election, Republicans served notice that the clock is ticking on Democrats’ slim majorities in Congress. On Friday, 13 House Republicans delivered the decisive votes to rescue a key part of President Biden’s agenda — an agenda endangered by those in his own party,” the Washington Post reports.
“And some Republicans are predictably furious — with undersold questions about House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s (R-CA) future leadership of the party potentially in the offing.”
Said Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL): “I can’t believe Republicans just gave the Democrats their socialism bill.”
Rich Lowry: “Youngkin, who at the end of the day is a Glenn Youngkin Republican, exceeded Trump’s 2020 margins in the reddest parts of Virginia. In Southside Virginia, Trump won by 22 points; Youngkin won by 36. In Southwest Virginia, Trump won by 45; Youngkin by 53. In the Shenandoah Valley, Trump won by 22; Youngkin by 33. In the Upper Tidewater, Trump won by 16; Youngkin by 28.”
“The danger to Trump’s standing in the GOP isn’t that he’ll be flatly repudiated or ever stop being popular, rather that he’s no longer viewed as central or essential as he has been over the last five years.”
“Worried that he’s not getting enough credit for Virginia, Trump said on Wednesday that there’s no way Youngkin would have won without MAGA voters. True enough. Youngkin needed to get them out and did, without Trump campaigning for him and barely mentioning his name. Therein lies a tale.”
“Since he burst onto the national political scene in 2015, Donald Trump has strong-armed one Republican after another into submission. But in Virginia, Glenn Youngkin did something new: He managed to keep the former president at a politically safe remove without alienating him or his allies,” the New York Times reports.
“Mr. Youngkin’s success in the Virginia governor’s race speaks not only to his own deft handling of his party’s volatile and unpredictable standard-bearer but also to Mr. Trump’s apparent willingness to place himself on the sidelines during a campaign that received wall-to-wall coverage on cable news.”
“What is not known is whether Mr. Youngkin’s formula is repeatable elsewhere, particularly in the 2022 midterm elections.”
Washington Post: Youngkin became Virginia governor by wooing both moderates and Trump supporters. So how Trumpy is he?
Aaron Blake: “Not to make everything about Trump, but the GOP’s ability to distance itself from him — and Democrats’ ability or inability to tie Republicans to him — matters in upcoming elections, especially with Trump out of office.”
“Youngkin provided a road map for the GOP when Trump isn’t front-of-mind for most people. Whether Trump will stay so out-of-mind ahead of the 2024 election is a very relevant question.”
“What also matters is whether Republicans can actually put forward candidates like Youngkin and perhaps Ciattarelli who can effectively craft their own brand. That’s especially true given how much some top GOP Senate candidates have tied themselves to Trump in the service of winning primaries — and how much Republicans might nominate candidates more extreme and with more baggage than Youngkin because they have Trump’s backing.”
A new NBC News poll finds 50% of Republicans say they are not confident their vote will be counted accurately.
When asked which party is the biggest threat to democracy, a new NPR/PBS/Marist poll finds 42% said Democrats and 41% said Republicans, while just 8% blamed both parties.
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“Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) will call for Republicans to break up with Big Business when he addresses the National Conservatism Conference on Monday,” Axios reports
“Rubio is seeking re-election in one of the most high-profile and expensive races of the 2022 cycle. He’s using this speech to differentiate himself from traditional economic conservatism by branding himself as a leading proponent of the working class.”
“You can fight against the cancer in the Republican Party of lies of conspiracy of dishonest. And you ultimately come to the realization that, basically, it’s me, Liz Cheney and a few others that are telling the truth. And there are about 190 people in the Republican Party that aren’t going to say a word, and there’s a leader of the Republican caucus that is embracing Donald Trump with all he can.”
— Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), on ABC News, on why he decided not to run for re-election.
Associated Press: “Americans are accustomed to their leaders being publicly jeered, and former President Donald Trump’s often-coarse language seemed to expand the boundaries of what counts as normal political speech.”
“But how did Republicans settle on the Brandon phrase as a G-rated substitute for its more vulgar three-word cousin?”
Michael Gerson: “Only one party has based the main part of its appeal on a transparent lie. To be a loyal Republican in 2021 is to believe that a national conspiracy of big-city mayors, Republican state officials, companies that produce voting machines and perhaps China, or maybe Venezuela, stole the 2020 presidential election. The total absence of evidence indicates to conspiracy theorists (as usual) that the plot was particularly fiendish. Previous iterations of the GOP tried to unite on the basis of ideology and public purpose. The current GOP is united by a common willingness to believe whatever antidemocratic rot comes from the mouth of an ambitious, reckless liar.”
“Only one side of our divide employs violent intimidation as a political tool. Since leaving the presidency, Trump has endorsed the view that the events of Jan. 6 were an expression of rowdy patriotism and embraced the cruel slander that the Capitol Police were engaged in oppression.”
“Only one political movement has made a point of denying the existence and legacy of racism, assuring White people that they are equally subject to prejudice, and defending the Confederacy and its monuments as ‘our heritage.’ This is perhaps the ultimate in absurd bothsidesism.”
William Saletan: “Together, these statements from 10 of the most powerful Republicans in Congress—five in the Senate, five in the House—show that authoritarian corruption has permeated the party’s power structure. No Republican in leadership is willing to challenge the former president’s lies about the election. Every Republican in leadership is determined to bury the investigation of his coup attempt.”
“The story of the Trump presidency and its aftermath is no longer the story of one failed tyrant. It’s the story of a party that has become a platform for autocrats—and is ready for its next master.”
Jonathan Bernstein: “One of the most important facts of U.S. politics right now is the terrible shape the Republican Party is in. It has been dysfunctional for more than a decade, and more recently the mainstream of the party has been acting as if they live in a fantasy world.”
“I attended the American Political Science Association’s annual conference in Seattle last month and heard nothing but a string of pessimism about the Republican Party — something that simply was not the case even 10 years ago. Of course, not everyone was pessimistic about the future of the republic. But no one seems to be able to imagine how the Republicans can turn themselves around, and I can’t remember the last political scientist I’ve spoken with (yes, Republicans included) who didn’t see serious problems here.”
Jonathan Chait: “If Terry McAuliffe holds on to defeat Glenn Youngkin in the Virginia governor’s race, a large number of Republicans will blame Donald Trump. McAuliffe has assiduously tied Youngkin to Trump. Youngkin has followed a careful strategy of appealing to both Trump cultists and moderates. Should he lose, it would be a proof point that blue-state Republicans can’t keep a foot in both camps. They would have to denounce the former president more forcefully to gain the credibility they need to win statewide office, a step that would erode Trump’s influence over the party.”
“So a McAuliffe win would be a devastating blow for Trump’s power base within the Republican Party. Yet here is a funny thing. Nobody within the Republican Party, not even the Republicans who complain about his influence, wants this outcome.”