After the midterms, the Republican Party and half of the conservative movement are now furious with Donald Trump. Their writs are many — even though the party establishment shares much of the blame.
Even before the midterms, there was a latent feeling among half of Republicans that Trump, given his age, and the animus he incurs among the rich Left and touchy independents, might retire to the role of kingmaker, rather than try a third presidential election.
Trump’s eruptions, coupled with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ stunning and singular midterm success, ensured that such prior latent conservative unease is now overt. Indeed, in near hysterical fashion, Trump became stigmatized and scapegoated as the culprit for nearly every Republican race lost. Yet many of his endorsed candidates won. And some who lost did so quite independently of anything Trump said or did.
Yet, as the disappointment over a red ripple began to subside, many found some long-term good: the winner DeSantis was empowered. The now cocky but still demented Joe Biden is delusional, convinced he could be a winner in 2024, And Donald Trump now must either settle down or settle up.
An unspoken paradox arose among many that Trump’s vital MAGA agenda might be better continued and advanced by those others than its creator — even as Trump insisted that there can no more be a MAGA party without him than there could be sunshine without the sun.
One explanation of the Trump dilemma is that like all classical tragic heroes and western gunslingers, Trump solved problems through means unpalatable to those in need of solutions beyond their own refinement. It is the lot of such tragic figures to grate and wear out their welcome with their beneficiaries — but only after their service is increasingly deemed no longer needed.