Larry Kudlow: Republicans' losses in the midterms were not Trump's fault


Larry Kudlow: Trump-backed candidates losing midterms due to 2020 election talk ‘makes no sense’

FOX Business host Larry Kudlow on Republicans blaming 2020 election talk and Trump for disappointing midterms on ‘Kudlow.’

So, Donald Trump is scheduled to speak tonight, at 9 p.m. Eastern. His staff is calling it a campaign event, with an announcement. Most folks think he's going to announce his presidential candidate for 2024. 

I don't have any wisdom on what kind of announcement it may be. Could be an exploratory committee. I don't know. But here's something that I do know: the wave of blaming the former president for disappointing election results is vastly, vastly overrated and oversimplified by a lot of folks who really never liked him in the first place. This includes, disappointingly, a lot of conservative editorialists. Now, laying my cards on the table. As I've already said, I would prefer any presidential announcements by Mr. Trump to wait until after the Georgia runoff.  From a power-sharing standpoint, Herschel Walker's race is very important and I fear Mr. Trump might be a distraction. 

But I don't know that, and neither does anybody else. Herschel Walker himself has invited Trump to come and campaign for him and it is Herschel's campaign. So, the "Trump should stay away" mantra may not hold up at all, may be completely wrong. Who knows? Indeed, maybe Mr. Trump would rally people to vote heavily. In fact, I think he ought to tell people to start their mail-in ballots immediately. Don't stop! Republicans have to learn how to play this game too. 

An interesting Trump defense, by the by, on this point and others in The American Conservative magazine by Senator-elect J.D. Vance, J.D. argues that the GOP underperformed for two reasons: not enough money, especially at the grassroots level, and the party’s been outfoxed by Democrats concerning mail-in ballots and harvesting. Republicans desperately need their own mail-in ballot harvesting get-out-the-vote operation desperately. But that has very little to do with Mr. Trump, that's a party machinery issue, state by state and Vance says that that is not Trump's fault.



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Now, I don't happen to agree with my former boss' contention that the actual vote counting in the 2020 election was massively fraudulent. I don't agree. I do believe, as I have said before, that the 2020 election was heavily influenced by the "Zuckerbucks" $450 million operation, placing Democratic operatives in key polling places in key swing states and districts almost while nobody was looking. That's where the mischief was and that's the argument that Mr. Trump should be making. 

Now, quickly back to Herschel Walker, I think it would be great if Mr. Trump donated at least $20 million from his own PAC to help Herschel out. I think it would be great if he announced that tonight in whatever campaign event it's going to be, but the idea that Trump-backed candidates, particularly the Senate candidates who lost — all of them lost — because they were 2020 election deniers just makes no sense to me. 

On this show, we interviewed all these candidates two and three times: Vance, Oz, Masters, Walker, Bolduc, Smiley, O'Dea, Levy, Johnson, Grassley. Not a single one of them at any point ever mentioned a 2020 election denial — never came up. Inflation, crime, border, parents, those are the big issues. Not once did I hear anything about a 2020 election denial.  So, Trump's critics who keep using this election denial argument to blame him for a whole bunch of very close GOP losses — it just makes no sense to me. This subject never came up. 

Now, though, Mr. Trump occasionally referred to election denial, that's one thing, but he was not on the ballot. The candidates themselves never mentioned it. So, I still don't see how Trump gets blamed on that score. There's a disconnect there. But what I do want to say is this, whether he runs or not, he has a very impressive list of achievements, okay? Tax cuts, deregulation, a terrific economy, energy security and dominance, the Abraham Accords, ringing the bell on China. This is a very impressive list and it’s my great hope that he talks about these policies, which Joe Biden has reversed in the main — and not about the 2020 election. 


ROBSTOWN, TEXAS – OCTOBER 22: Former U.S President Donald Trump speaks at a ‘Save America’ rally on October 22, 2022 in Robstown, Texas. The former president, alongside other Republican nominees and leaders held a rally where they energized supporter (Brandon Bell/Getty Images / Getty Images)

When Mr. Trump goes policy content, people love it. They know the country right now is not in good shape, nor is the economy and they believe that Trump’s remedies would be a very good approach. Look, like everybody else, I don't like the personal insults. Never have.  Some of the tweets, etc. It’s not my cup of tea, but on policy content, there's nobody better. Yes, I worked for him for three years, so I have a certain amount of bias. Yes, I do! 

We'll see tonight which Trump emerges and what his announcement actually will be. I hope it's heavy on policy content and I hope he helps Herschel Walker out with a big chunk of cash, but I'll say this: whatever Mr. Trump decides to do, I wish him luck. Okay? I wish him luck and goodwill. Alright. That's my riff there, said it. Got it off my chest. 

This article is adapted from Larry Kudlow's opening commentary on the November 15, 2022, edition of "Kudlow." 

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