The American electorate spoke loud and clear on Tuesday – they want to move on and will reward those who effectively govern.
by Chris Saxman
“What’s up?”, I answered recognizing the caller ID’d number.
“He’s done, right?” came the question.
“Yup, he’s done.”
The caller hung up.
But much to my astonishment (and to the rest of the country watching), Boston Red Sox manager Grady Little, who had gone to the mound in the 8th inning of Game 7 in the 2003 American League Championship Series (ALCS), left obviously “done” pitcher Pedro Martinez in the game. Against the Yankees. IN New York. In Game SEVEN. With THE LEAD.
The PREVIOUS inning, Martinez who had thrown 100 pitches by then was TOLD by Little that, “you’re done.” He was pulling him. BUT minutes later, Little asked Martinez if he could get the next batter in the next inning out because the pitcher/batter match up Little was thinking about was not good after all. Martinez agreed, went back in the game, got that batter — Nick Johnson — out on just two pitches.
So, Little kept Martinez in. Derek Jeter doubled, Bernie Williams singled, and then came Little’s famous — or infamous- – mound visit and that phone call.
Obvious. Patently obvious. Martinez was gassed. Done. Little knew it the last inning!
If you don’t know how that game ended by now, well, the Red Sox lost. The Curse of the Bambino remained.
The next morning I was listening to a national sports radio show and one of the commentators asked another commentator if Grady Little should be fired for his decision.
The answer came, “He should have been fired on his way to the bus!”
To help make the point, let’s turn to A League of Their Own. Coach Jimmy Dugan (Tom Hanks) visits the mound to talk to pitcher Kit Keller (Lori Petty) and is joined by the catcher, Kit’s older and better-at-baseball sister, Dottie Hinson (Geena Davis).
Kit pleads with Dugan to leave her in. Dugan asks Dottie what she thought. “Well, you know…she’s battling…”
Dugan asks again, this time louder, “What do you THINK?”
“She’s done. She’s throwing grapefruits.”
I cite those two stories – one fiction and one non-fiction – to illustrate this statement:
Donald Trump is done.
But patently obvious?
Yup – a patently obvious fact.
Okay – let’s start with Donald Trump’s narrow 2016 Electoral College victory over Hillary! Clinton.
Trump won Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania because Clinton lost enough votes to Green Party nominee Jill Stein and Libertarian Party nominee Gary “Aleppo?” Johnson in those three states.
However, Clinton won the national popular vote by 2,868,519 votes. Some call that a fluke election. Doesn’t matter. In the end, it was just math.
The Virginia bellwether election of 2017 saw Democrat Ralph Northam beat Ed Gillespie by nine points 53.9 to 44.97. Just three years earlier, Gillespie had narrowly lost to Mark Warner in the US Senate race — 49.15 to 48.34. Less than a point.
The difference ? Well, let’s put it this way – Republican House members in 2017 told me that their own FAMILY members were voting against them to send Trump a message. Their. Own. Family.
2017 saw a Blue Wave of Democratic victories in the House of Delegates in which 15 House seats flipped and control of the House was determined by a film canister being pulled from a bowl that broke an actual tie in a House race. Granted the bowl was lovely and historic, but still…that’s how we break ties for control of the House of Delegates.
The 2018 Midterms saw a massive turnout increase from the 2014 Midterms and the House Democrats out-polled the GOP nationally by 9,710,275 votes winning 41 seats.
The national tide against Trump continued in the 2019 Virginia bellwether as the House and Senate both went Blue giving the Democrats the governing trifecta. #OverreachComing
Then came 2020 in which the Democratic nominee, Joe Biden, basically campaigned from his basement “Under the Lid” giving all the attention to the incumbent President Donald Trump. #Referendum
This time, Biden won Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. Also Georgia and Arizona. One key difference from 2016 in the Electoral College? Lack of support for Green and Libertarian candidates.
Biden won that election by 7,059,526 votes.
Before Tuesday, this was the national vote in the previous three cycles:
3 million, 10 million, and 7 million against the Trump-led Republicans.
Reminder – people vote AGAINST more than FOR. #Psychology
Virginia 2021. Republicans won, in part, by keeping Donald Trump OUT of Virginia. About two weeks out of election day, I asked a person very familiar with the internal operations of the Republican campaigns how things were going. “It looks good. Really good.”
“Can anything mess this up for the Republicans?”
“Yeah, Trump could show up.”
<laughter from both>
“No, seriously….Anything else?”
“That’s pretty much it. If Trumps stays out, I think we win.”
Now throw in the 2022 Midterm underperformance in which Republicans still might win control of the U.S. House and U.S. Senate. It was closely divided going in and it’s closely divided coming out. (Line of the day goes to Brian Kirwin, “Waiting three hours is taking three days.”) Again.
Make ZERO mistake, the Trump-endorsed candidates who swore allegiance to the premeditated stolen 2020 election fable in order to get their Republican nominations were either beaten on Tuesday or underperformed the top of their tickets.
And, like Pedro Martinez in Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS…
EVERYONE WATCHING KNOWS.
Many of those at the top of the tickets — Republican governors in particular — were roundly attacked by Trump for not being loyal enough to him. Those attacks probably helped win swingable voters.
Check out this list of underperforming Trump-endorsed candidates:
NH – Gov. Sununu – 57 v 45 for Bolduc – Twelve
Ohio – Gov. DeWine 63 v 53 for Vance – Ten
Georgia – Gov. Kemp 53 v 49 for Walker – Four
WI Sen. Ron Johnson 50.5 v 48 for Michels (candidate for Governor). Two and a half.
Pennsylvania Dr. Oz 47 v Mastriano (who took busses to January 6th) 42. Both lost, Mastriano more so by FIVE.
The BIGGEST winner of the night was Florida Governor Ron DeSantis who won 59% of the vote while Senator Marco Rubio won with 58%.
Turns out the new nickname for DeSantis shouldn’t be the DeSanctimonious that Trump trial ballooned but rather Ron DeSixtyPercentofUs.
Now, Donald Trump will run for president again. Of that, I have no doubt.
However, given the last FOUR national election cycles, there is no path to the White House for Donald Trump. None. The math is just not there.
I’ll even throw in a bumper sticker for you — No math, no path.
Policy achievement notwithstanding, it’s time for the GOP to move on to its new generation of leaders.
Trump also shouldn’t be president again.
We could probably use a Godfather reference or two right about now.
You know what to do.
This one is obvious.
Leave the gun, take the policies.
Chris Saxman is executive director of Virginia FREE. This column has been republished with permission from The Intersection.