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Michael Reagan: Future is with a governor, not Donald Trump

From the commentary: DeSantis, Kemp, Abbot and other governors like them make the best presidential candidates for Republicans. ... They’re the ones who know how to fix things and get things done.

Bonus editorial cartoon for Nov. 8, 2022
Cartoonist Adam Zyglis draws on Donald Trump's announcement of his candidacy for president in 2024.
Adam Zyglis
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DeSantis, Kemp and Abbott.

Those governors were not just the Republican Party’s brightest stars in this week’s disappointing midterms elections. With their smashing victories Tuesday night, they showed us they’re the future of the GOP — and the party’s best hope for retaking the White House in 2024.

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From the commentary: Perhaps the ultimate point is that Pompeo’s attack on Weingarten and teachers must do just that. Pompeo’s demagogic words must bring together all the sane patriots who still call themselves Republicans. They must unite to condemn his message — and tell Americans we must work with our teachers to help them build the infrastructure that will be America’s ultimate bridge to tomorrow.
From the commentary: Ocasio-Cortez has a long record of pushing primary challenges to Democrats deemed insufficiently radical. These attempts are almost always unsuccessful though draining to the incumbent.

Ron DeSantis in Florida, Brian Kemp in Georgia and Greg Abbott in Texas — each could move into the White House and quickly begin fixing the serious economic, immigration and fiscal fiascos Biden and Democrats have created.

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Other Republican governors who could be capable presidents are out there, too. Kristi Noem of South Dakota comes to mind. So does Nikki Haley, the ex-governor of South Carolina.

But what about that other guy? You know, that crazy ex-president reality-TV guy from New York with the red hats and the huge campaign rallies? Trump, I think his name was.

Well, he announced his presidential candidacy for 2024 on Tuesday — just stirring political things up in his usual divisive and headline-grabbing way.

But as just about every TV pundit, party mouthpiece and political editorial writer in America has been saying with glee since the Nov. 8 election, Donald Trump was Election 2022’s biggest loser.

And, sadly, they’re right.

The positive and negative results of the midterms prove that Republicans can — and should — move forward without Trump.

Trump’s great work for the party is done.

But despite all his remaining political power and his undiminished appeal to millions of “MAGA” Republicans, our most un-presidential ex-president has become the Democrats’ best political weapon.

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Election 2022 showed that they can still use Trump as a battering ram and a bogeyman to discredit and defeat top-quality Republican candidates.

In a column in August of 2021, after a Trump-endorsed candidate lost in a special House election, I saw this Trump problem coming.

I wrote that I was worried he had become a problem for a minority political party that always has to capture the votes of independents and moderate Democrats if it hopes to win in the general elections.

“Donald Trump becomes a double-edged sword — you want his endorsement for the Republican primary, but because of him in the general election you’re liable to lose independents, suburban women and moderate Democrats.

I wrote that the loss by a Republican in a House race in Texas that he should have easily won “could be a wake-up call for the GOP’s leaders — a warning that Trump’s power within the Republican Party could hurt their big plans for next fall.”

OK, so sometimes even I can see the future.

But it was pretty obvious then and it’s more obvious now — Trump is a liability for the GOP and it should now look to its younger generation of all-star governors for leadership.

With the Great Red Wave never showing up except in Florida — where it hit like a Category 12 hurricane — the most positive results from Tuesday — other than likely taking back the House from Nancy Pelosi — were the easy wins by those governors.

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The blindly loyal Democrat voters of Pennsylvania proved they don’t care how unqualified or unhealthy or leftwing their candidates are by electing poor John Fetterman to the U.S. Senate.

But smarter, less tribal voters in Georgia, New York, Texas and elsewhere showed us on on Election Day they are tired of both political extremes. That’s why the Senate is 50 – 50.

Normal Americans just want the economy fixed, the border fixed and the crime wave fixed so they can live in peace and prosperity.

DeSantis, Kemp, Abbot and other governors like them make the best presidential candidates for Republicans.

They’re the ones who know how to fix things and get things done. Unlike senators, or New York billionaires, as the chief executives of their states they come to Washington with the valuable experience they need to run a government.

If voters don’t put a governor in the Oval Office, you won’t get a competent executive, you’ll get a bumbling sales manager.

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From the commentary: This fetish with identity started as a tic of the left, which tends to believe that voters want candidates who represent certain groups, as opposed to certain ideas. What it should have learned by now is that Republicans are perfectly capable of running their own candidates of color, witness their support in the Georgia senate race of the unintelligible Herschel Walker, a Black football player.
From the commentary: Still, as Biden quietly marked his 80th birthday on Nov. 13, the basic Democratic dilemma remained: Will it be best for the party — and the country — to renominate the nation’s oldest president, even if the alternative is chaos?
From the commentary: We have become hyphenated Americans with too many clinging to their native land in language and culture. No nation can be sustained in its character without controlling who is allowed to enter. Other nations have far more restrictive immigration laws and paths to citizenship than ours.
From the commentary: The question becomes: How much further can we keep expanding the number of domestic birds that are grown and slaughtered? How much longer can this vicious cycle continue before it explodes?
From the commentary: Americans want better results. They want a government that’s efficient and effective and improves their lives. They expect and deserve elected leaders who will fix the damn roads.
From the commentary: Those kinds of cross-party relationships don’t exist in today’s hyper-partisan world, so McCarthy will be pretty much flying solo.
From the commentary: It's a safe assumption that fear of crime is what flipped several suburban New York congressional districts to Republicans. The fears may not match the reality, but elected officials should not add fuel to them with careless talk. Kathy Hochul was lucky this time.
From the commentary: From all the reporting I've done about the Latino vote over the past three decades, along with the experience I've had for nearly 40 years as a Latino voter, there are a handful of factors that determine whether Latinos — who tend to register Democratic by 2 to 1— are at least open to voting for a Republican.
From the commentary: In his new book "So Help Me God," Pence quotes Trump as pressuring him to overturn the results of the 2020 election by rejecting electoral votes from the states. When he refuses, Pence says Trump told him "you're too honest." It was cynicism at its worst and what so many people hate about Washington and politics.
From the commentary: Cartoonist Dick Wright draws on Donald Trump's attacks on other Republicans.

Michael Reagan, the son of President Ronald Reagan, is an author, speaker and president of the Reagan Legacy Foundation. This commentary is the columnist's opinion. Send feedback to: opinion@wctrib.com.

©2022 Michael Reagan, distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate.

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