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The Red Wave That Wasn’t


I woke up this morning in London hoping — not just hoping, but expecting — to see news of a Red Wave having crashed upon the shores of an America sick of the woke Democrats. I was disappointed. The Red Wave talk turned out to be bullshit. As I write, we still don’t know the outcome of control of the Senate. We do know, though, that the Trump-endorsed candidate in Pennsylvania was beaten by a brain-damaged Democrat. That tells you something. That tells you a lot, actually.

Well, look, the two races I cared most about — DeSantis’s Florida governor re-election bid, and J.D. Vance’s Senate race in Ohio — both went the way I wanted. Senator Vance! I’m old enough to remember this 2016 TAC interview that broke TAC’s server and launched J.D.’s book into the stratosphere. We became friends after that. Here’s an interview I did with J.D. right after his conversion to Catholicism. I can testify that J.D. Vance is a good man, and I think he will be a great senator — and even president one of these days. God is with him!

DeSantis’s smashing Florida victory last night makes him the head of the conservative movement, such as it is. His victory speech was exciting. Good excerpt here:


What a contrast between DeSantis, a conservative who actually gets things done, and wins (even a majority of Latinos!), and Donald Trump, a has-been whose candidates — with the exception of Sen.-elect Vance — fared poorly on Tuesday. The underwhelming election results on Tuesday, in a country suffering from high crime and high inflation, ought to send a big sign to the conservative electorate: the more the Right stands by the fatmouthing loser Trump, the further behind we will fall. I concede that Trump’s endorsement likely carried JDV over the line in the Ohio GOP primary, and for that I’m grateful. But the future of American conservatism is not with Donald Trump.

No courage to confront the important issues head on. It has fallen to Matt Walsh, Chris Rufo, Libs of Tiktok, and others to take on the scourge of gender ideology. With the exception of DeSantis, no other major elected Republican politician has wanted to touch wokeness. I cannot understand why. The country is falling apart, the libs are becoming totalitarians who are coming after children, and most of the GOP just sits there with its thumb up its backside, running on the thrilling platform of “hey, at least we’re not the other guys.” No, forget it. That’s over.

To the MAGA diehards, I say: is this really what you want? A Republican Party that can’t decisively whip the Democrats even in an extremely favorable year? Because this is what you are going to get if you keep sticking with Trump. Like it or not, a lot of independents just hate the guy, and that’s never going to change. Conservatives like me would vote for him in 2024 just to keep the Democrats out of office, but in that case I would vote knowing I was checking the box for a big mouth who won’t get much done, because whereas Ron DeSantis would actually govern, Trump would do nothing but preen and talk about himself.

But as Stuckey and Walsh say, the normie Republican Party doesn’t give people much reason to vote for it, other than its not being Democratic. That’s enough for a lot of us, but not enough to win big, and certainly not enough to deserve victory.

The future of American political conservatism is Ron DeSantis, J.D. Vance, and National Conservative-style Republicans like them. Not MAGA. Not the Bulwark sad remnants of the pre-Trump GOP establishment.

I’ll update this as we get news about Georgia and Arizona. Hoping hard for Blake Masters and Kari Lake wins. Hey, at least we no longer have to hear from terminal losers Stacy Abrams and Beto O’Rourke again.

Continue Reading at The American Conservative.

The American Conservative

The American Conservative is a bimonthly print and daily digital magazine of measured, principled conservatism. We believe in ideas over ideology and principles over party.

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