As the dust settles on Tuesday's voting, much of the analysis is focusing on former President Trump, but perhaps not in a way that he would like. One common theme is that GOP candidates—especially Governor-elect Glenn Youngkin in Virginia—fared well by keeping Trump at arm's length during their campaigns. Coverage:
- The strategy: Youngkin and Trump spoke "repeatedly" by phone throughout the campaign, reports the Washington Post, but the former president kept a low profile on the campaign trail itself. "Trump, who is known for his public demands of fealty, allowed Youngkin to cast himself as his own man, declining to invite Trump to campaign with him and deflecting questions about his support for Trump’s more polarizing views in an effort to make inroads in the well-heeled Northern Virginia suburbs," write Michael Scherer and Josh Dawsey.
- The 'fever': At CNN, Zachary B. Wolf assesses the Virginia race and others and concludes: "This is a more moderate and centrist country than activists on either the right or left let on, and Donald Trump fever may be breaking."
- Maybe: Of course, predictions that "this is the moment the Trump fever breaks" have been proven wrong again and again, writes Allahpundit at the conservative Hot Air. But for Trump critics, Youngkin's win does indeed offer a "glimmer of hope" that's it true. "Not a ray of hope. Not a twinkling. Just a glimmer. ... It’s an unusually visible example of a Republican winning a race populists were focused on keenly with a persona that scans much more establishment than populist." Yes, Youngkin is "MAGA-friendly," but "size him up and ask yourself if you’re more likely to see him in the front row at a Trump rally or having dinner with Mitt Romney. Plain as day, right?"
- Agreement: Rich Lowry at Politico sounds a similar theme, writing that the result dents the perception that the Trump way is the only way to GOP success. "Youngkin did it his own way, not Trump’s, and still turned out Trump voters in droves, while eroding Terry McAuliffe’s margins in areas where the Democratic advantage once seemed insurmountable." His "path to victory was one that Trump himself or any of his epigones would have been incapable of, and Republican officials will duly take note, even if they don’t explicitly say so."
- Trump himself: The former president has a much different take on all this. "Without MAGA he would have lost by 15 points, more," he says of Youngkin, per the Hill. "Instead of giving us credit they say, 'Oh he's more popular than Trump.'"
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