Analys by Chris Cillizza, CNN Editor-at-large
Everywhere you look these days, there’s good political news for Republicans.
Earlier this month they swept the statewide offices in Virginia and nearly upset New Jersey’s Democratic governor. President Joe Biden’s approval rating remains mired in the low 40s. The generic congressional ballot is moving in Republicans’ direction. Inflation — and the Biden administration’s role in it — is dominating the news.
Virtually every political pundit looking at the national political environment is predicting that Republicans are a favorite to retake control of the House and are a decent bet to swing the Senate as well. “Democrats Shouldn’t Panic. They Should Go Into Shock,” New York Times columnist Tom Edsall wrote in a piece on Wednesday detailing just how dire things look for Democrats.
Then there’s Donald Trump.
To hear the former President tell it, things are bad within the Republican Party — and it’s all because of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.
Lambasting the passage of a $1 trillion infrastructure package, which 19 Republican senators — including McConnell — voted for, and the possibility of a $1.75 trillion social safety net bill, Trump said this:
“This was all allowed by Mitch McConnell’s incompetence and now I understand that a couple Republican Senators may get on board so that they can have yet another and even bigger victory, for the Democrats, while at the same time ensuring massive Inflation and the destruction of our Country as we know it.”
Added Trump: “Now the Democrats have a big victory and the wind at their back.”
Which, well, not so much? We can absolutely debate as to whether passage of the infrastructure bill and the social safety net legislation may, at some point in the future, work in Biden’s political favor. But, at the moment — and despite the fact that many elements of both bills are popular — they have done very little to move the needle for Biden.
Why then is Trump upset? Why can’t he be happy for his party which finds itself in arguably the best political spot it’s had in years?
The answer is simple: Trump doesn’t really care about the fate of the broader Republican Party. He cares about Trump — first, last and always.
McConnell isn’t doing exactly what Trump thinks he should be. Therefore McConnell, who, not for nothing, has a far longer history of political success than Trump, is blowing it all and screwing Republicans.
But — and stop me if you’ve heard this before — there’s simply no evidence to back up the dark political outlook that Trump seems to to think is building for Republicans.
Trump can’t be happy for his party’s current position because he doesn’t get all the credit for it and it’s not being accomplished the way he wants. It’s that simple.
He isn’t now — and never has been — a team player. His association with the Republican Party — as judged by his various party switches before he ran for president in 2016 — was a matter of convenience, not conviction.
And now, when absolutely everyone is predicting a great year for the GOP in 2022, he can’t even feign happiness about it.
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