Voters in several states took to the ballot boxes this week to decide the victories in some important races.
Major political positions and policy referendums were up for grabs.
And now GOP leaders are scratching their heads and looking for answers after once again falling short in these campaigns.
In 2016 Donald Trump left the so-called “political experts” in a state of shock when he defeated Hillary Clinton in the electoral landslide.
That same election cycle, Republicans won House, Senate and Gubernatorial races across the country.
However, the Grand Old Party has struggled to once again achieve those same heights after Donald Trump listened to terrible advice and handed control of much of the Republican agenda to RINOS like then-House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senator Mitch McConnell ahead of the 2018 elections.
Democrats rebounded some in the 2018 Midterms likely as a result.
While losing a couple U.S. Senate seats, Democrats flipped 41 seats in the House of Representatives to give Nancy Pelosi back the Speaker’s Gavel and additionally gained seven new governorships.
The 2020 election looked better at first glance, with then-President Trump getting more votes than he did in his historic 2016 victory.
But, in the end, Trump lost in close and controversial fashion to former Vice President Joe Biden.
And Democrats picked up three Senate seats to take full control in Congress.
2022 gave Republicans hope, with all the signs pointing to a big night.
But despite amassing over a hundred million dollars in his political war chest, Trump decided to let Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s leadership PAC write the checks, and thus dictate the GOP’s agenda and 2022 Midterms strategy.
And most of that strategy surrounded abandoning Trump’s signature conservative achievement while in office, appointing the Supreme Court Justices who would go onto overturn Roe v. Wade.
Not surprisingly, veteran political watchers will note, when Party leadership actively demoralizes one of their strongest grassroots mobilization bases just before an election things are bound to turn into a nightmare.
And when the dust settled and the smoke cleared, it was another GOP disappointment – they managed to actually lose a Senate seat and only barely won back the House despite a promised Red Wave and all the political winds in the GOP’s favor.
Of course, one of the few bright spots was where the promised Red Wave did crash – in Florida where Governor Ron DeSantis and Sunshine State Republicans actively touted an unabashedly conservative and pro-Life agenda and won big.
Things looked like they might be different in the handful of off year elections across the country this week.
And instead of the evidently dominant RINO-wing of the GOP getting its clocks cleaned once again, they could have been, if only the Consultant Class and GOP establishment had learned their lesson.
Biden’s approval ratings are in the tank, the economy is making it difficult for working Americans to make ends meet, crime rates are surging, illegal immigration is out of control, there are two global wars, and Democrats have been pushing for insane social policies.
Opportunities looked ripe in Kentucky, Mississippi, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia.
In the ruby red state of Kentucky, Republicans ran the state’s black Attorney General, Daniel Cameron against Democrat incumbent Governor Andy Beshear.
Trump won the Bluegrass State 62-36 in 2020 and Beshear received harsh criticism over his handling of COVID and his criminal-friendly policies.
However, not only did Beshear win re-election, but he won handedly, beating Cameron – a close McConnell ally – by 5-points, compared to his 2019 victory of only a half point.
One bright note as far as the Kentucky loss may be that Trump at least seemingly tacitly acknowledged his own mistake in sidling up too closely to McConnell.
“Daniel Cameron lost because he couldn’t alleviate the stench of Mitch McConnell,” Trump wrote of Cameron’s loss, posting to his Truth Social account. “I told him early that’s a big burden to overcome.”
Republicans did win the gubernatorial race in Mississippi with incumbent Governor Tate Reeves winning re-election over Brandon Presley.
But in a state Trump won by 16.5-points in 2020, Reeves only managed to hold on to office by 4-points.
Elsewhere, Republicans were hopeful of winning state legislative control in both Virginia and New Jersey.
But neither worked out.
In the Old Dominion State, not only did the GOP fail to win the State Senate, they actually managed to lose control of the House of Delegates.
And in the Garden State, hopes of majorities in the legislature were dashed.
Furthermore, New Jersey Republicans weren’t even able to cut into Democrat leads – instead, losing five seats.
The GOP also lost a state Supreme Court race in Pennsylvania – that was considered to be a toss-up – by 6-points.
And ballot measures didn’t workout any better than candidates did on election night.
Ohio was the latest state where Democrats and the Republican political class have convinced themselves they understand the message that Republican voters have sent them about the abortion issue.
It appears at first glance that Democrats have the more engaged voters willing to turnout for non-presidential year elections.
Indeed in Ohio, the Left turned out its base of activist Buckeye State voters and passed a “right to abortion” amendment to the state constitution using a marijuana legalization ballot measure to help drive turnout.
The GOP establishment apologists are peddling the left-wing narrative that Republicans should abandon the abortion issue.
But many in the conservative grassroots insist the Party already has.
The GOP they say have been getting killed on it but it’s because the establishment wing of the Party keeps self-deleting their strongest grassroots support by softening and insisting on trying to win Democrat women they aren’t going to win.
Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin largely decided to try and burnish his national standing as a potential presidential contender by largely laying down on the abortion and pushing candidates in the state’s legislative elections to follow suit.
At best, many conservatives insist, Youngkin and fellow GOP Governor Mike DeWine in Ohio only tepidly campaigned against the radicalism of Democrats on the issue instead of actively pushing for expanded pro-Life protections.
Ahead of the Ohio ballot fight, DeWine even advocated revising a legislatively-passed state law closer to the abortion-on-demand wishes of Democrats.
Like in Ohio and Virginia and the 2022 Midterms, when the best establishment Republicans would do is call out Democrat radicalism on the issue, the GOP has lost.
But when they campaign strongly in support of the pro-Life position they win.
Donald Trump’s vow in October of 2016 to appoint SCOTUS Justices who would overturn Roe rallied grassroots supporters and arguably helped sweep him to a historic victory.
The same goes for Ron DeSantis and Florida Republicans massive wins in 2022 after DeSantis promised to expand pro-Life protections ahead of the General Election.
The Florida Governor hasn’t backed off that position and earlier this year signed the Sunshine State’s Heartbeat Protection Act into law.
Trump meanwhile has recently mouthed that the Party should abandon the issue.
By now the GOP establishment should surely recognize that pound for pound pro-Life grassroots advocates mobilize other voters extremely well in support of Republican candidates, but only when they believe that Republican Party leaders will actually stand by their claims that they will protect unborn lives.
Political Animal News will keep you up-to-date on any new developments in this ongoing story.