Right now, former President Donald Trump’s grip on the Republican Party appears as tenuous as it’s ever been. Most of his marquee candidates in battleground states lost in last week’s midterms, in what political commentators have interpreted as a rebuke to the MAGA brand.

Mr. Trump also remains under investigation, facing perhaps the greatest legal jeopardy of his career. And polls suggest Republican voters may be wearying of him, with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis pulling ahead in recent surveys ranking potential 2024 contenders.

Why We Wrote This

Will the midterm results convince Republicans to move on from former President Donald Trump? Or will he assert his hold on the party once more?

True to form, the former president has responded to this moment of weakness by going on the offensive. He is calling the Nov. 8 election a “very big victory,” trumpeting the likely GOP takeover of the House. He has also turned up the heat on potential challengers for the GOP presidential nomination.

Previous predictions of Mr. Trump’s political demise have all proved premature, and even many of his critics say it would be unwise to bet against him. He has survived scandals, impeachments, twice losing the popular vote, and more.

“After Jan. 6, Republicans could have taken this man down – and they didn’t,” says GOP strategist Scott Jennings, referring to the attack on the U.S. Capitol. “If someone is weak, that’s the time to move,” he adds. 

Is the GOP still the party of Donald Trump?

In the wake of their disappointing midterm results – and as the former president prepares for a “big” announcement, with expectations that he will make his 2024 bid official tonight – Republicans are once again wrestling with the same existential question that has consumed the party off and on for the past six years.

Right now, Mr. Trump’s grip on his party appears as tenuous as it’s ever been. Most of his marquee candidates in battleground states lost last week, and those who won often lagged mainstream Republicans on the ticket. Across the political spectrum, commentators have interpreted the election as a sharp rebuke to the MAGA brand, calling the former president a drag on the GOP ticket and a gift to Democratic turnout. 

Why We Wrote This

Will the midterm results convince Republicans to move on from former President Donald Trump? Or will he assert his hold on the party once more?

Mr. Trump also remains under investigation, facing perhaps the greatest legal jeopardy of his career, over everything from the classified documents taken from the White House to his business dealings in New York. And polls suggest many Republican voters may be wearying of him. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, whose resounding reelection victory last week led the conservative, Murdoch-owned New York Post to dub him “DeFuture,” has pulled ahead in several recent surveys ranking potential 2024 contenders.

True to form, the former president has responded to this apparent moment of weakness by going on the offensive. He is calling the Nov. 8 election a “very big victory” for him and his allies, trumpeting the likely GOP takeover of the House, and attributing the failure to capture the Senate to “very obvious CHEATING” (a charge that virtually none of his endorsees have echoed). 



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