The Republican Party’s Trump problem

© Ricardo Arduengo, Reuters

The Republicans' disappointing performance in the midterm elections is also a personal defeat for former US president Donald Trump, who had been counting on the success of the candidates he endorsed to launch his own presidential bid next Tuesday. To make matters worse, Ron DeSantis, his potential Republican rival for the 2024 elections, celebrated a resounding victory in Florida.

Feelings of anger and frustration swept through Mar-a-Lago's gilded halls on Wednesday. The mansion’s owner, Donald Trump, who has been living in Florida since he left the White House, spent election night reeling over the fact that the big "red wave" the Republicans had promised ahead of the midterms had not materialised.

"Trump is livid" and "screaming at everyone", an adviser told CNN reporter Jim Acosta.

Trump was furious with the results, explains Todd Landman, a professor of political science at the University of Nottingham, as they "indicate that having backing from Trump and using MAGA arguments no longer galvanises people the way it used to and that he is actually seen as a liability".

Conservatives feel Trump is to blame for many of the losses. Although a few prominent Republican candidates such as writer J.D. Vance, who was elected senator in Ohio, emerged victorious, many Republican contenders – particularly the "election deniers", those who believe the conspiracy theory that the 2020 presidential election was stolen – failed to win in key states.

However, the Grand Old Party has little time left for it decide whether it needs to change candidates to win.

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