Republicans need to give Trump the Hoover treatment and cut the loser loose
How can any Republican who cares about winning still support Trump? Voters have made clear they do not want him or anyone affiliated with him in power.
In 1932, after losing decisively to Democrat Franklin Roosevelt, former Republican President Hebert Hoover bucked presidential norms and became an outspoken critic of his successor in the White House.
Driven by personal grievances, Hoover wrote several scathing books and disparaged Roosevelt and the New Deal in speeches. In 1940, seven years after leaving the White House, he sought the Republican presidential nomination. But the GOP rejected the unpopular former president, knowing he would likely lose again.
Today, Republicans have the opportunity to do the same thing to another highly unpopular former president, who is also driven by personal grievances.
Now is a perfect time for the party and conservatives to reject Donald Trump, who announced his candidacy last week, because he almost certainly would lose again.
Will Republican leaders finally give up on Trump?
Although it might seem like his grip on the party is weakening after many of Trump’s hand-picked candidates lost in the midterm elections, I have my doubts about whether the Republican leadership can quit Trump.
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After the release of the "Access Hollywood" tape, top Republicans excoriated Trump, then they raced back into his camp a month later when he won the 2016 presidential election.
Republican leaders did the same thing after the attack on the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. Some even flew to Mar-a-Lago to grovel for forgiveness. It is like watching someone trapped in a toxic relationship. They keep telling everyone they’re done with him, but they keep going back.
Republicans need an intervention. Trump is responsible for the party's losses in the past three election cycles:
►In the 2018 midterm elections, with Trump in the White House, Democrats gained 40 House seats, seven governorships, more than 300 state legislative seats and control of six state legislatures.
►In the 2020 presidential election, Trump lost by 74 electoral votes and by more than 7 million in the popular vote. Democrats flipped four Republican Senate seats, two of which Republicans lost after Trump and his allies told voters in Georgia not to show up for the runoff election.
►This month, Republicans underperformed dismally in what should have been a blowout win. With high inflation, high gas prices, President Joe Biden’s low approval rating and 74% of people saying the country is headed in the wrong direction, everyone expected a red tidal wave. Instead, because Trump decided to play kingmaker and choose bad candidates, Democrats retained control of the Senate and Republicans will lead the House with only a slim majority.
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Trump has been the greatest electoral boon for Democrats since the Great Recession, when they won the presidency and strong majorities in the House and Senate. In fact, the party has moved further to the left, and they still win.
How can any Republican who cares about winning still support Trump? Voters have made clear they do not want him or anyone affiliated with him in power. How many more losses should the GOP endure before finally figuring out this unambiguous truth? How many more times will the nebulous "establishment" be scapegoated instead of Trump and his diminishing wing of the party?
The 2024 presidential election will not be any different if Trump is the Republican nominee. It will be the easiest way to ensure Biden a second term, if he runs again.
It's time to give Trump the Hoover treatment. Or accept that Republicans will be relegated to minority status for years to come.
Chris Schlak is an Opinion fellow for USA TODAY. He graduated with a degree in government from The University of Texas at Austin in May. He founded and edited The Texas Horn, an Intercollegiate Studies Institute student publication at UT Austin. Follow him on Twitter: @ChrisSchlak
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