Donald Trump is now in a better position to win the 2024 Republican presidential nomination than he has been in months rallying his party around him following an indictment by a New York grand jury on fraud charges.
But actual events on the ground continue to suggest that the former president may not be a good Republican brand among the general electorate.
The day after Trump’s impeachment in Manhattan on Tuesday, Democratic Rep. Janet Protasiewicz celebrated her victory in the Wisconsin Supreme Court election, as liberals gained control of the Supreme Court in the last swing of the state.
This turns out to be just part of a larger story in which Democratic candidates and Democratic-backed candidates across the nation have done better in elections this year than Joe Biden did in his states or regions in 2020. And it potentially bodes well for the Democrats’ fortunes in 2024.
The Wisconsin event adds to the state’s problem. Biden He won the state less than a point in 2020, after Trump had carried by a similar margin four years earlier. The Honeymoon State is one of the few that has decided a winner in the last four presidential elections and is one of the few that has a US senator from both parties.
Protasiewicz’s 11-point winning margin over his Republican opponent is a relative blowout compared to Biden’s 2020 performance in Wisconsin.
Also in Wisconsin on another Tuesday election, we can see this one state senate election in the Milwaukee area. While he hasn’t talked about anything as far as the Republican Supreme Court race goes, Republicans need to keep the seat open to win a majority in the state Senate.
The Republican candidate won, but only by 2 points. This resulted in a 3-point overperformance for the Democratic nominee Biden lost the district by 5 points in 2019.
The Wisconsin results match up well with what we’ve seen so far in the 2023 special election across the country.
In the only federal special election so far this year, Democrat Jennifer McCllean finished 2020 ahead of Biden in Virginia’s 4th Congressional District by 13 points.
In an average of nearly 20 special state legislative elections, Democrats have done about 4 points better than Biden’s margin, on average.
The president, of course, won the 2020 election, and the fact that the political environment looks better for Democrats now than it did then was a good sign for the party.
There is also a big difference we saw in 2019 when the Democrats were close to matching Hillary Clinton’s margin in the 2016 special election. That happened after Democrats defeated Clinton in the 2018 midterms. It was a sign that the 2020 elections were close.
What Democrats are showing to be strong this year is the most odd thing, which is happening when Biden’s approval rating is stuck in the low 40s. Normally, you don’t expect the president’s party rivals to do well in off-year elections.
This suggests that factors are now at play similar to those in the latter part of 2022. Following the US Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Midway through Wade’s year, Democrats began to overcome Biden’s 2020 edge in states that had special elections.
But the Democrats were historically exceptional on the night of the November midterms. They more than held their own, though Biden’s approval rating was well south of 50%.
Mid-term exit polls show many voters who didn’t like Biden or Democrat Trump. Almost all of the key races in the states that will decide the presidency in 2024 likely went Republican. Put another way, Biden wasn’t the deciding factor you’d expect to be among swing voters. Trump did it in his vote, even though he wasn’t president.
Neither abortion nor Trump seem to be going away in 2023.
Abortion was at the forefront of the Wisconsin Supreme Court race, with liberals hoping that Protasiewicz’s turn would give them a majority to proceed with the state.
And Trump remains the clear favorite for the GOP presidential nomination, despite continuing accusations and resentment among the general electorate.
If those things don’t change the outcome in 2014, Republicans may be in big trouble.