Donald Trump cost Republicans the White House and their majorities in the Senate and House in the last five years, but the GOP still sees the 74-year-old ex-president as the future of the party.
The twice-impeached one-term president is the favorite for the 2024 nomination should he choose to run, and conservative Matt Lewis lamented in a new Daily Beast column that Republicans are jetting off to Mar-A-Lago for fundraisers and racing to out-Trump one another in their own campaigns.
"After a drubbing in November followed by a violent and violently stupid insurrection attempt in January, they are doubling down on a proven loser," Lewis wrote. "It's just weird to have the guy who just LOST the presidency remain the party's undisputed leader. In our lifetime, one-term presidents (not to mention losing nominees) have been pushed out the door faster than Milli Vanilli. In 1981, nobody was clamoring for more Jimmy Carter. But Republicans just can't quit the former president — no matter how much grief he has caused them (and the nation)."
"To paraphrase Homer Simpson's toast to alcohol," he added, "they see Donald Trump as the cause of, and the solution to, all of the party's problems."
Lewis pointed to Ohio's crowded GOP Senate race, where early frontrunners J.D. Vance and Josh Mandel are dialing up the bigotry and culture war trolling to win over Trump voters.
"Whether it's Republicans schlepping to Florida to bend the knee, likely 2024 presidential candidates deferring to him, or a new crop of U.S. Senate candidates falling all over themselves (and, in one case, being escorted out of a hotel) for the chance to touch the hem of his garment, you have to ask yourself why, since nothing good comes for anyone else from getting anywhere near him," Lewis wrote.