By Paul Gable
The Red Wave that was expected to bring the Republican Party a 40 or so seat majority in the U.S. House of Representatives and control of the U.S. Senate failed to materialize.
The Republicans will wind up with a very small majority in the House, but control of the Senate is gone for at least another two years.
Donald Trump planned to ride atop the red wave to an announcement of his candidacy for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination gloating over victories by his endorsed candidates for House, Senate and governorships. Most of those, especially the ones in swing states, lost, drawing into question whether Trump can win the upcoming 2024 presidential contest.
Questioned about his candidates before last week’s election, Trump said, “If they win, I should get all the credit. If they lose, I should not be blamed at all.” The statement comes as no surprise as Trump always wants all the credit, but doesn’t take the blame for anything including his loss in the 2020 presidential election.
The losses among many of Trump’s endorsed candidates, the failure to gain control of the Senate and the probability of only a small majority in the House have caused some Republican officeholders, party officials, strategists and conservative pundits to question whether they should support a Trump candidacy again.
This rising tide of dissatisfaction with Trump among some Republicans could cause a particularly sticky dilemma for the Seventh Congressional District’s new representative Russell Fry. Fry only won the nomination for the seat after his SCGOP cohorts like Gov. Henry McMaster, SCGOP Chairman Drew McKissick and some Trump advisers convinced Trump to endorse Fry before ever actually meeting him. Fry defeated all comers including incumbent Tom Rice in the primary and went on to win the general election despite never really telling Seventh Congressional District voters how he would represent them.
Fry will be expected to support a Trump candidacy including all the name calling and vitriol aimed at other candidates in the race that a Trump candidacy brings with it. That’s part of being on the Trump Team. But, until he was endorsed by Trump, Fry was a mainstream Republican. Fry never criticized Tom Rice for voting to impeach Trump until after he decided to enter the race because Rice could not win reelection. Fry still has not said whether he believes Trump’s claim that the 2020 election was stolen.
And, if Trump fails to attract voters in the same numbers as he did in 2016, where does that leave Fry? Will he stick with Trump, the man to whom Fry owes his election to the House, no matter what or will he return to his more traditional roots?
It’s going to be an interesting two years to see exactly where Fry stands as Trump again attempts to gain the Republican nomination for president in 2024.