The midterm’s biggest loser: Donald Trump

That lesson should have turned off anyone who can do basic math. In the all-important game of political addition, Trump is a divider, not a multiplier, and he is quite literally a loser.

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Former President Donald Trump Spends Midterm Election Night At Mar-a-Lago

Former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during an election night event at Mar-a-Lago on in Palm Beach, Florida.

Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Welp, it wasn’t the red wave that many Republicans promised it would be. If not for a certain former guy, it could have been.

All of the momentum was with Republicans.

There was the historically reliable truism that the party in charge — in this case, the Democrats — is usually punished in the midterms. There’s the fact that President Joe Biden’s approval was at a shockingly low 39%, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll on Monday. And let’s not forget that a majority of voters cited the flagging economy, dogged by stubborn inflation, as their top priority, according to Gallup.

All of this should have delivered a tsunami of Republican victories all over the country. But it didn’t. As of this writing, both the House and Senate are still up for grabs. Democrats won three “blue wall” governor seats in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, and also held onto New York. Democrats managed to flip two Republican governorships, in Massachusetts and Maryland.

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Republicans may go on to win the House, and they might eke out a one-seat majority in the Senate, but this certainly wasn’t how it was supposed to go. (Just check out House conference chair Rep. Elise Stefanik and Don Trump Jr.’s Instagram accounts to see the red wave memes.)

So what went wrong? It’s what’s been going wrong for Republicans since 2018: Donald Trump.

In the four years he was president, he managed to lose the House, Senate and White House to Democrats. He also got himself impeached twice and might very well go to jail if charged with any number of crimes multiple bodies are currently investigating.

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That lesson should have turned off anyone who can do basic math. In the all-important game of political addition, Trump is a divider, not a multiplier, and he is quite literally a loser.

Yet Republican leadership in many cases — and plenty of Republican voters in the primaries — hitched their wagons to Trump-endorsed candidates, often over more moderate Republicans who had better chances of winning.

There was Doug Mastriano, the election-denying Trump acolyte who lost his bid for governor in the swing-y Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Also in Pennsylvania, Democrat John Fetterman won his Senate race, beating out Dr. Mehmet Oz, a reality TV doctor who Trump, unsurprisingly but ill-advisedly, endorsed.

In New Hampshire, Trump’s pick Don Bolduc lost to Democrat Maggie Hassan in that state’s Senate race. Trump then dinged Bolduc for eventually backtracking on the “big lie.”

In Georgia, Brian Kemp won his race for governor, despite Trump having endorsed his primary opponent and attacking Kemp as “the worst ‘election integrity’ governor in the country.” (Incidentally, Brad Raffensperger won his reelection for secretary of state, despite defying Trump’s urging that he “find” more Trump votes to help tip the 2020 presidential election.)

Also in Georgia, that Senate race will likely go to a run-off, with neither the Trump-endorsed Herschel Walker nor the Democrat Raphael Warnock getting more than 50% of the vote. Imagine if Republicans had backed a candidate who didn’t have all of Walker’s obvious deficiencies and scandals.

Also defying logic, in blue states like Massachusetts and Maryland, Republicans had a clear blueprint to win state houses there. Instead, they deemed those popular two-term Republican governors, Charlie Baker and Larry Hogan, insufficiently Trumpy and nominated two far-right candidates who didn’t stand a chance. Both those states are now run by Democrats.

In Arizona, both Blake Masters and Kari Lake had Trump’s backing for Senate and governor respectively. It’s still too early to call, but both may lose to Democrats.

The Trumpster fire had even those on the right seeing red over the losses.

Former Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum blamed Trump for losses while on Newsmax: “I’m looking at the rest of the team — and you know who the leader of the rest of the team is — and the rest of the team didn’t do well tonight.”

Daily Wire founder and conservative Ben Shapiro was also blunt: “Donald Trump was a major drag on Republicans, from his picks to his antics.”

Georgia’s sitting Lt. Gov. Jeff Duncan told CNN, “This is a time that Donald Trump is no doubt in the rearview mirror, and it’s time to move on with the party, it’s time to move on with candidate quality.”

It’s been time for quite a while now, but maybe these midterm losses will finally shake loose Trump’s chokehold on Republican Party leadership and Republican voters — if they care about winning, that is.

Despite Trump’s promises that America would get sick of all the “winning” under his reign, it didn’t seem like winning was actually a top priority to Republicans. Instead, stoking the culture wars and owning the libs were.

If they want to win again — whether it’s the presidency in 2024 or future state and federal elections — the midterm message is clear: Republicans need to dump Trump.

S.E. Cupp is the host of “S.E. Cupp Unfiltered” on CNN.

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