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Nate Silver on GOP Performance in 2023 and in recent history


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I get Silver's newsletter, even though I don't always agree with him. Here's what he said about the GOP in light of GOP defeats in Nov 2023 elections and in regard to recent history. You can subscribe to his newsletter The Silver Bulletin if you want more like this. 

Anyway, here's Silver's comments:

"So the argument here is not that Trump is a popular candidate — he is emphatically not popular. Rather, it’s that Republican performance without Trump on the ballot may be even worse. They still suffer from selecting poor candidates — many of them endorsed by Trump — and having unpopular policies on position like abortion. But they don’t get the enthusiastic turnout that Trump and his celebrity gives them. Instead, they often wind up with weird nominees that repel swing voters and motivate Democratic turnout without exciting their own base.

It’s also not as though Republicans have struck out. Trump won in 2016 in a historic repudiation of the established political order. And they have a 6-3 conservative majority on the Supreme Court, which overturned Roe v. Wade and could persist for decades. Those are some big wins to savor.

But it’s been one hell of a devil’s bargain: a choice between mediocre results with Trump on the ballot or outright poor results without him. And without a lot of other models of electoral success — John McCain and Mitt Romney lost; George H.W. Bush was a one-termer, and George W. Bush ended his tenure as an extremely unpopular president — it’s not clear how the GOP breaks out of the trap."

Silver's also relays a timeline of GOP struggles here:

And really, this has been the new normal. Consider all the elections since Donald Trump became president in 2016 when Trump wasn’t on the ballot himself:

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