Nov 4, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Trump consolidates command over GOP, even if he loses

Photo: Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images

President Trump heads into the wild days ahead stronger than ever: However things ultimately shake out in the presidential race, he did way better than most expected and was a rare voice saying Republicans could gain ground in the House.

Why it matters: Few Republican officials defied him before. It's hard to see many, if any, standing up to him now. 

The state of play: The president's appeal was broader than believed. He actually found new voters. Many of them were the working-class, white males who are the base of his base. But there were more of them.

  • These results contradict the argument that his 2016 victory was a fluke or mainly a repudiation of Hillary Clinton — or that he’d be resoundingly rejected for his handling of the coronavirus.

And something's happening with Hispanics for Republicans, though their full gains are still not precisely clear. Joe Biden never fully connected with the demographic — and the GOP did better in several areas than expected.

  • Back in August, former 2020 presidential candidate Julián Castro warned Alexi McCammond in an interview for "Axios on HBO" that Democrats could win the presidency in November but lose support with Latino voters, which could "benefit the Republicans in the years to come."

Yes, but: Despite the relative successes, Trump's overnight false claim that he had already won the election — even though key states are uncalled — drew consternation from some notable members of his party.

  • Trump is doing exactly what was foreshadowed — basing his claim on a "red mirage" of in-person votes that skew more heavily Republican than the mail-in votes added later in some battlegrounds.
  • On Fox News, Karl Rove said: "The bigger hand to play is to have confidence in the system ... Nobody is gonna be able to create large numbers of fake votes and somehow submit them into the system."
  • On ABC, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) added: "[A]s a former U.S. attorney, there's just no basis to make that argument tonight."
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