According to Politico Playbook, a declaration by Donald Trump at his Iowa rally on Saturday night should be cause for alarm by Republicans with an eye on making gains in the 2022 midterms.
Speaking to the rabidly pro-Trump crowd in Des Moines, Trump blurted, "I'm telling you the single biggest issue, as bad as the border is and it's horrible, horrible what they're doing, they're destroying our country — but as bad as that is, the single biggest issue — the issue that gets the most pull, the most respect, the biggest cheers — is talking about the election fraud of the 2020 presidential election."
As Politico's Tara Palmeri wrote, Trump obsession with making the 2022 lection cycle a referendum on his 2020 election loss will mean GOP candidates will be forced to talk about his claims at the expense of making the case for their own election by talking about the issues that concern most voters who aren't Trump partisans.
Writing, "There's a big gap between the GOP message and Trump's message," Palmeri added, "That's a problem for Republicans."
"Many of them want to make the midterm elections about the issues — inflation, the border, Afghanistan, etc. — to set the election up as a referendum on Biden's presidency," the Playbook report states. "Trump doesn't. The bulk of his speech, Meridith [McGraw] writes, "was devoted to his baseless claim [that] the 2020 election was stolen." In focusing on that issue above all others, Trump effectively makes the 2022 election a referendum on him instead of Biden."
The report adds that Trump keeping his belief that the election was stolen from him front and center is unlikely to go away as he plans more red-meat rallies for his base and used the uses the claim to fundraise for a potential third presidential run in 2024.
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