Washington • Ding-dong, the Don is dead.
Or is he?
An election storm brought the house down on the Mar-a-Lago warlock and devastated Republican hopes for a rout.
Republicans are blaming Donald Trump for anointing wacky candidates and then using campaign rallies to promote his upcoming presidential announcement. Republican lawmakers privately say those self-indulgent rallies cost them Senate and House seats because many normal Republicans and independents have had their fill of Trump and his crazy train.
The third time should be the charm. Since winning in 2016, Trump helped Republicans lose the House in 2018 and lose the White House and the Senate after the 2020 elections. Now he seems to have rescued Democrats from the traditional midterm shellacking — Republicans are barely within reach of a House majority and are watching their chance of controlling the Senate slip away. Trump has been poison for his party.
Polls showed that even many people unhappy with Joe Biden voted Democratic, a sign that Trump fatigue has finally set in. It’s so bad, the Murdoch empire has turned on its former fair-haired boy.
Ivanka and Jared are moving on and are not interested in being part of a Trump restoration, according to Kate Bennett at CNN. Even die-hard Laura Ingraham seemed to sour on her former hero. “If the voters conclude that you’re putting your own ego or your own grudges ahead of what’s good for the country,” she told her viewers Wednesday night, “they’re going to look elsewhere, period.”
The New York Post ridiculed him on the cover as “Trumpty Dumpty,” with a gratuitous shot about how he not only had a great fall, but couldn’t build a wall.
Trump responded by calling the paper “the no longer great New York Post,” and he blamed his failure to complete the wall on former Speaker Paul Ryan, a Fox Corp. board member, and “Broken Old Crow” Mitch McConnell, saying they didn’t get him enough money from Congress.
But Succession in Murdochworld seems to be well underway. Its new infatuation with Ron DeSanctimonious has obviously enraged Trump, who’s casting spells from his Palm Beach lair, his incoherent nastiness zinging Republican stars and anyone else who makes his combover stand on end.
In his Truth Social posts, he tried to paint the election results as better than they were, sneering that candidates who shunned his support, including Joe O’Dea in Colorado, went down big and had a “Death Wish.”
With a racist crack about Glenn Youngkin’s name, Trump tried to undermine the governor of Virginia, a potential powerhouse, saying he would never have won last year without Trump giving “a very big Trump Rally for him telephonically.”
The former president also had a “Heathers”-like hissy-fit against Ron DeSantis. First, he thuggishly threatened the Florida governor after his Ohio rally last Monday, warning him not to think about getting in the presidential race.
“If he did run, I will tell you things about him that won’t be very flattering,” Trump said. “I know more about him than anyone other than perhaps his wife, who is really running his campaign.”
After DeSantis had a crushing victory in the once swingy Sunshine State, declaring it the place “woke goes to die,” Trump’s puerile jealousy exploded. He posted that he had rescued DeSantis when he was “politically dead.”
“And now Ron DeSanctimonious is playing games!” said Trump, angry that DeSantis wouldn’t rule out running for president in 2024.
Some in the GOP say attacking a younger generation of Republican stars puts Trump in dangerous territory. But that’s how Trump got to the White House, belittling Little Marco Rubio and Lyin’ Ted Cruz.
The moment feels reminiscent of Jan. 6 and its immediate aftermath. Republicans go crazy on Trump, say “enough is enough,” as Lindsey Graham did at that juncture, and act as if they’re ready to toss him aside. But it didn’t take long for “my Kevin,” as Trump called McCarthy, to make a groveling pilgrimage to Mar-a-Lago.
Republicans refused to convict Trump on impeachment charges and ban him from running for public office. Now they’re living with the consequences. It’s not hard to imagine that this revolt against the revolting Trump will die down in a few days and they’ll all be back behind this person that they blame for their current convulsions.
“If blackmailing Ukraine, inciting a riot, trying to overturn the election, hoarding classified documents, using overtly racist language for seven years, including at Glenn Youngkin today, was not enough to cause you to walk away from Donald Trump,” political analyst Ron Brownstein said on CNN Friday, what makes people think Trump is toast now?
One of the bright spots of the election is that a lot of people seemed to turn their back on crazy. Let’s hope that Republicans will get the message and move on from the King of Crazy before he gets another shot at destroying democracy.
Maureen Dowd is a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for The New York Times.