GOP’s MAGA billing faces major speed bumps: The Note

The TAKE with you Rick Klein

For the past six years, most Republican loyalties to Donald Trump have rested on one simple assumption: Trump helps them win.

That notion has collapsed under the weight of a third consecutive anti-MAGA election. But Republicans will not find it easy to free themselves from Trump’s influence – and they have blamed the man himself and the forces he continues to stir up.

Even before his party finds out if it will control both houses of Congress, the former president is in tears. He doubts elections in settled states, as well as some where the count is still on — bringing distant battles to 2024-2022 with attacks on Gov. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., who won hugely on Tuesday even as Trump-aligned Republicans lost.

MAGA could yet salvage victories from Nevada and Arizona in particular, where some of the few notable wins for Trump-backed candidates could take place. That could become dangerous if Republicans on the other side of the national ticket follow Trump’s path of attacking election integrity without evidence.

On Capitol Hill, House Republican Speaker Kevin McCarthy is already making “transitional plans” for a speakership he may not own, either because his party fails to capture a majority or because Trump allies could sink him even if they do do.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is making no such plans to take over a majority that is increasingly unlikely to belong to Republicans at all. That can be thrown at Trump’s feet to a degree — although, as always with Trump, it’s complicated: Senate Republicans and the party’s grassroots have welcomed some of the former president’s prominent candidates, including Georgia’s Herschel Walker.

Now, a drain is looming in this state in a moment primed for 2024 attention. Former Vice President Mike Pence’s book arrives the very week Trump has suggested he might announce another candidacy — and just days before a big GOP gathering in Las Vegas that Pence, DeSantis and virtually everyone will attend major Republican contemplating a different candidacy than Trump.

Especially given the way abortion policy has impacted the midterms, it’s worth remembering that Trump is the source of many, but certainly not nearly all, of the obstacles Republicans see in regaining power. But how so many of them rode to the summit with him influences views on how to make it back.

The RUNDOWN with Aver Harper

Young voters can be partially credited with helping Democrats stave off the so-called red wave that many were anticipating for the midterm election.

Voters ages 18 to 29 showed up in typical numbers and made up a smaller portion of the vote than any other age group, according to Exit poll data — but 63% voted Democrat versus 35% who voted Republican. This is a significant increase compared to 2016 and 2014.

“With 18-29 year olds being the only age group that has given the Democrats their overwhelming support, it is clear that they have been the winning margin at several key races, securing John Fetterman victories in Pennsylvania and governorships in Wisconsin and Michigan. Cristina Tzintzún Ramirez, president of voting advocacy group NextGen America, said in a statement to ABC News.

President Joe Biden thanked young voters for their turnout during his post-election news conference on Wednesday, calling their participation “historic” during Thursday’s remarks.

“Young people have voted to keep addressing the climate crisis, gun violence, personality rights and freedoms, and student debt relief,” he said.

Gaining the support of the youth is one thing. Delivering on the promised agenda will be another, especially if, as many expect, Democrats lose control of the House of Representatives.

The TIP with Alisa Wiersema

Though several high-profile election deniers lost their races on Tuesday, a big Trump-backed candidate still has a chance to win. Republican gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake is locked in a close battle with Democrat Katie Hobbs, who currently serves as Arizona’s secretary of state.

With tens of thousands of votes still to be tallied, Lake would need about 51% of the outstanding votes to win the governor’s mansion, according to an estimate by ABC News. However, the final lineup could still be days away and extend into early next week.

Although the lengthy process signals that local officials are directing electoral administration with meticulous attention to detail, the slow flow of information could also lead to the kind of misguided rhetoric seen in the days after the 2020 election.

Last month, when ABC News’ Jonathan Karl pressed whether she would accept the notarized results of the 2022 election even if she loses, Lake responded with a caveat.

“I will accept the result of this election if we have a fair, honest and transparent election. Absolutely, 100 percent,” the former TV host said at the time, adding, “As long as it’s fair, honest and transparent.”

What the future holds may remain unclear, as Lake previously told CNN she would “win the election and accept that result.”

power trip


power trip

“Power Trip: Those Who Seek Power and Those Who Pursue It” follows 7 young reporters as they hunt candidates leading up to the Midterms, with George Stephanopoulos guiding them on their journey.


ABC News’ Start Here Podcast. “Start Here” begins Friday morning with ABC’s Rick Klein in crucial midterm races where votes are still being counted. Then ABC’s Rebecca Jarvis explains the latest inflation data and what’s next. And ABC’s Stephanie Ebbs explains what action will be taken ahead of President Biden’s address at this year’s UN climate conference.


  • President Joe Biden begins his foreign tour: he meets with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, talks about the climate, Ukraine and other issues. Biden will then address the 27th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in Egypt before traveling to Phnom Penh, Cambodia for the annual US-ASEAN Summit and the East Asia Summit.

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The Note is a daily feature on ABC News highlighting the day’s top stories in politics. Please check back next week for the latest information.


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