MCLAUGHLIN: The Republican Party Changed Forever — For The Better — Under President Donald Trump

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John McLaughlin Contributor
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In 2020, President Donald J. Trump created one of the greatest voter coalitions in American political history, bringing millions of new voters into the Republican Party and expanding the GOP’s vote among African Americans and Hispanic Americans.

The electoral votes that decided this election were determined by a mere 44,000 votes out of a record almost 160 million ballots cast. And two of the three states that decided the electoral outcome — Georgia and Wisconsin — were decided themselves by contested recounts.

These states, and the nation at large, did not see Independents and Republicans who voted for Trump in 2016 swing away from him. They came out and voted for Trump and Republicans again.

Instead, a record turnout of early, pro-Democrat Party voters was facilitated by changes to state election laws to create mail-in ballots and drop boxes funded by hundreds of millions of dollars from pro-Biden corporate non-profits like Secure Democracy.

President Trump’s record 74+ million Republican votes built a solid foundation that down-ballot Republicans benefitted from. Many of these voters solely came out for Trump, and the candidates on the Republican ticket reaped the rewards, as our poll indicated Trump voters supported down-ballot Republicans at least 90% of the time.

During his own reelection campaign, Trump campaigned extensively for the entire Republican ticket, participating in over 50 TeleRallies for congressional candidates and issuing hundreds of tweets for Republican candidates.

The results? President Trump’s popularity among folks who otherwise would not come out and vote enabled Republicans to gain 12 seats in Congress with zero losses by GOP incumbents. Every House Republican in a tossup race won. A record 35 Republican women won election to Congress. Republicans won 59 of 98 partisan state legislative chambers – a net gain of 2 state houses and 141 seats across the country.

Election Day voting has decreased from 76% in 2004 to only 36% in 2020, while early voting, mostly by mail and drop box, increased to 64% in 2020. In many cases these changes led to charges they enabled ballot harvesting, which need to be re-examined as state election reforms are considered.

According to our 2020 post-election poll, 29% of all voters voted by U.S. mail and they preferred Biden 61%-39%. Another 11% said they voted by drop box and they voted for Biden 68%-32%.

Those who voted early in person were virtually even—Biden 51% to Trump 49%, and among those who voted on Election Day Trump won big 62%-36%. It is evident by the data that if Trump had not worked around the clock to rally the GOP vote, it would have been a Biden landslide.

This is why Trump is leading the effort to preserve honest elections and ballot integrity, and Republicans solidly agree. We need changes so this doesn’t happen again.

Never before has a president in American history challenged the permanent Washington political class the way Trump has, and never before has a President been persecuted by the political establishment the way Trump has been.

But just like both phony impeachments, these attacks have backfired and made him even stronger among the American people.

Our January poll of battleground state voters, 74% said impeachment was politically motivated to stop Trump from running again, and 65% agreed by continuing to attack Trump, Biden and Pelosi were making things worse and keeping the country divided. 77% thought Congress should be expediting the Trump-created vaccine and economic aid over impeachment.

And 48% to 36%, they were less likely to vote for a member of Congress who voted for impeachment, including 80% of Trump voters and 76% among Republicans.

Rasmussen Reports found among Republicans that 72% want the Republican Party going forward to be more like Trump, while only 20% prefer to be more like the average GOP member of Congress. 73% say Trump is still the kind of leader the Republican Party needs.

Country Club Beltway Republicans need to realize the Republican Party has been changed forever — for the better — because of Trump’s leadership and they need to stop blaming him for their failings. In order to regain the House and Senate in 2022, the GOP needs to continue to broaden the Trump coalition and not discourage Trump voters from coming out again in 2022 and 2024.

Like Judge Smails found out in the classic movie Caddyshack, the caddies are now running the country club.

They need to learn to live with it.

John McLaughlin is CEO and Partner at McLaughlin & Associates