Examining the impact of former President Trump on the Midterms
STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
Our correspondents Don Gonyea and Tamara Keith are still with us. And I want to continue this discussion of Donald Trump. We know that Trump said at least that he plans a big announcement later this month. He's not always the most reliable guide to his future actions, but he says he's planning a big announcement. It was presumed he might be announcing he's running for president using a big Republican election victory as a kind of springboard to jump in the air and head off in his presidential campaign. But Tam, it seems like the springboard broke.
TAMARA KEITH, BYLINE: Well, yeah, certainly, if you look at Trump-endorsed candidates or MAGA candidates running as proudly MAGA candidates - I'm looking at a race that I covered in the runup to the election, North Carolina 13, where the Trump-endorsed candidate - he emerged from a crowded primary field. Trump really pushed him over the line. He called himself a MAGA warrior, and he lost to a Democrat. And there are a number of these sorts of races up and down the ballot, which is an indication that Trumpism doesn't necessarily work without Trump. And the question, though, then becomes, you know, is there an alternative? And that has been the question since 2015, and the answer has always been not really.
INSKEEP: Don, I suppose we should note there are places where Trumpism seemed to work. J.D. Vance, a former critic of former President Trump, changed into an acolyte of former President Trump and seems to have won relatively easily in Ohio against a tough challenger, Tim Ryan.
DON GONYEA, BYLINE: We've stopped seeing Ohio as a bellwether, and I think we can officially put that to bed, especially after this one. Trump has won it twice, last time by 8 points. That was about what J.D. Vance won by. And look, Tim Ryan ran a fine campaign and worked those rural parts of the state and had a message for working-class voters about trade and talked about how often he was willing to disagree with the Democratic Party on some of those issues. But ultimately, it did not really move the needle in terms of where the baseline seems to be in a place like Ohio.
INSKEEP: And I suppose we should note there are people who reject the results of the 2020 election who became secretary of state, but that seems to have happened in places like Indiana and Wyoming that aren't likely to be big swing states in 2024.
GONYEA: That's right. It's a different picture in battleground states, like right next door in Pennsylvania.
INSKEEP: OK. That's Don Gonyea and Tamara Keith. They will stay with us for some time as we continue to bring in the latest election results. Many things are still up in the air. The House and Senate still up for grabs - Republicans favored to capture at least one, but neither is decided. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.