Washington Conservatives Erupt Over Donald Trump

IT WAS QUITE A SPECTACLE YESTERDAY: Many of Washington’s most outspoken conservatives lashed out, angrily, at Donald Trump. Instead of the expected nasty post-mortems among the Democrats, Republicans are doing the finger pointing.

THE FOCUS, AS AWLAYS, IS ON TRUMP: The former president “stepped on our message,” one Republican Hill staffer told us yesterday. In the last 72 hours of the campaign, Trump “made the election all about Trump,” as the former president continued to insist that he actually won in 2020; he barely mentioned GOP Senate candidates at campaign rallies.

TRUMP ALSO ANNOYED REPUBLICANS — and the Wall Street Journal editorial page — as he resumed his sophomoric insults, targeting Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who was one of the night’s big winners. Washington insiders don’t decide nominees, but there’s a remarkable Republican consensus in this city that it’s time to shift allegiances to the next generation; DeSantis is 44.

SO WILL THE GOP’S WEAK SHOWING impact Trump’s tease that he will make a major announcement next Tuesday? Trump said, laughably, that his speech will be “perhaps the most important speech given in the history of the United States,” overlooking the Gettysburg address.

AMONG PARTY INSIDERS there is virtual unanimity that Trump should postpone the announcement, in part because — once again — he could hurt the party’s chances in Georgia, which holds a runoff on Dec. 6. (Trump may also need some cover next Tuesday, as a new book from Mike Pence is released.)

DESPITE THE BACK-STABBING, Republicans still have a chance to take the Senate and are likely to control the House for the next two years. The GOP will thwart progressive legislation and aggressively probe Biden’s son, the withdrawal from Afghanistan, his handling of Covid, etc.

THE FINANCIAL MARKETS, which hate uncertainty, seemed confused yesterday by the lack of clarity over who controls Congress, but the answer is fairly clear: the GOP will narrowly win the House. In some respects that’s more important than control of the Senate.

WE SUSPECT THE MARKETS WILL MOVE on to other issues, starting with today’s CPI report, then Biden’s meeting with Xi Jinping, and ultimately the absolutely amazing, fantastic developments in Ukraine, where Russian troops continue their chaotic retreat. Terms of a potential truce have become part of the narrative in discussing what may happen this winter.

Related: Markets Can Happily Live With the Election Results

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