While the GOP grapples with a loss few predicted, some in the party are already looking ahead to 2024 while others are urging caution.
Republican Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri tweeted, “The old party is dead. Time to bury it. Try something new …”
“All Republicans should be focused on winning in Georgia and trying to understand the midterm elections before Senate leadership elections or moving on to the 2024 presidential race,” Sen. Lindsey Graham cautioned in a tweet.
Trump’s close advisors are reportedly pleading with him to hold off on an official campaign launch, citing concerns it could negatively impact the Georgia runoff election and complications that come from campaign finance rules that take effect once he’s officially announced his candidacy.
Trump has also ramped up his rivalry with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, lashing out at his former protégé and saying DeSantis wouldn’t have been elected without his support.
DeSantis has refused to say whether or not he plans to run in 2024, but he refused to commit to serving a full term in office when asked in a debate, leaving the door open for a presidential candidacy.
A new Super PAC run by a California investor is backing DeSantis in the meantime, encouraging the governor to run for president and painting him as the future of the party.
Trump also attacked Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin, posting on his Truth Social network that the governor’s name “sounds Chinese.” Youngkin is white, not Asian-American.
As with DeSantis, Trump has taken credit for Youngkin’s success and said that without his backing, he never would have made it.
Losses in the midterm election were especially heavy for candidates backed by Trump, many of whom made his false claims of election fraud the center of their campaigns. Election skeptics lost key seats in national and state races in competitive states, giving Democrats the chance to hold onto the Senate while the House is still up for grabs.
It could be a chance for the party to shift away from messaging driven by false claims to a platform more focused on the immediate needs of everyday Americans, like combating inflation.
But some Republican strategists are skeptical about whether or not the party will successfully move away from Trump. It’s not the first time conventional political wisdom has suggested the GOP should take a new direction, yet Trump has continued to push forward as the leader of the party.
In the meantime, the future direction of the Republican Party remains uncertain.