Sen.-elect J.D. Vance (R-Ohio) says the Republican Party is hurting itself if its leaders continue to blame former President Trump for its performance in this year’s midterm elections.
“Of course, no man is above criticism. But the quick turn from gobbling up credit to vomiting blame suggests there is very little analysis at work,” Vance wrote in an op-ed published this week in The American Conservative titled “Don’t Blame Trump.”
Vance, who was endorsed by Trump in a competitive GOP primary and won his Ohio Senate race last week against Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio), listed a number of possible factors leading to Republicans’ failure to flip the Senate and likely slim majority in the House, including its small-dollar fundraising efforts, which he called “paltry by comparison” to what Democrats managed.
“In Ohio, for example, Republican candidates ran against extremely well-funded Democrat opposition,” Vance wrote. “Some of them were MAGA. Some establishment. Almost all of them lost. The only exception was Max Miller in Northeast Ohio, one of Trump’s early endorsements.”
In an effort to turn out more voters in 2024 and in other coming elections, Vance argued Republicans have a key weapon at their disposal: the former president.
“Our party has one major asset, contra conventional wisdom, to rally these voters: President Donald Trump. Now, more than ever, our party needs President Trump’s leadership to turn these voters out and suffers for his absence from the stage,” the incoming Senator said.
Blaming Trump, as some conservatives have done in recent days, for the GOP’s midterm losses in key races, Vance said, is “counterproductive.”
“Any autopsy of Republican underperformance ought to focus on how to close the national money gap, and how to turn out less engaged Republicans during midterm elections,” Vance wrote. “These are the problems we have, and rather than blaming everyone else, it’s time for party leaders to admit we have these problems and work to solve them.”