GOP's MAGA reckoning faces major speed bumps: The Note

Even before his party learns its midterm fate, the ex-president is on a tear.

November 11, 2022, 6:02 AM

The TAKE with Rick Klein

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

That notion has collapsed under the weight of a third straight anti-MAGA election. But it won't be easy for Republicans to free themselves of Trump's influence -- and they have the man himself and the forces he continues to spin up in part to blame.

Even before his party learns whether it will control either house of Congress, the former president is on a tear. He's casting doubt on elections in settled states as well as some where counting is ongoing -- and is bringing far-off fights over 2024 into 2022 with attacks on Gov. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., who won huge on Tuesday even as Trump-aligned Republicans lost.

MAGA may yet salvage wins out of Nevada and particularly Arizona, which could host some of the few notable successes for Trump-backed candidates. That could get dangerous, with Republicans across the statewide ticket following Trump's path in attacking election integrity without evidence.

On Capitol Hill, House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy is already making "transition" plans for a speakership that may not be his, either because his party doesn't capture the majority or because Trump allies might sink him even if they do.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is making no such plans to take over a majority that looks increasingly likely not to belong to Republicans at all. That can be laid at Trump's feet to some extent -- though, as always with things Trump, it's complicated: Senate Republicans and the party's base welcomed some of the former president's celebrity choices for candidates, including Herschel Walker in Georgia.

Now, a runoff looms in that state during a moment primed for 2024 attention. Former Vice President Mike Pence's book arrives in the very week Trump has suggested he may announce another candidacy -- and just days ahead of a major GOP gathering in Las Vegas that will include Pence, DeSantis and virtually every major Republican considering a run other than Trump.

Particularly given the way abortion politics impacted the midterms, it's worth remembering that Trump is the source of many but surely not close to all of the obstacles Republicans see to reclaiming power. But how so many of them rode with him to the pinnacle is impacting views of how to make it back.

The RUNDOWN with Averi Harper

Young voters can be credited, in part, for helping Democrats stave off the so-called red wave that many anticipated in the midterms.

Voters ages 18-29 showed up in typical numbers, accounting for smaller portion of the vote than any other age group, according to exit poll data -- but 63% voted for Democrats versus 35% who voted for Republicans. That's a marked increase from 2016 and 2014.

"With 18-29-year-olds being the only age group that gave their overwhelming support to Democrats, it is clear they were the margin of victory in several key races, securing victories for John Fetterman in Pennsylvania and Governorships in Wisconsin and Michigan," Cristina Tzintzún Ramirez, president of the 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 press conference on Wednesday and referred to their participation as "historic" during remarks Thursday.

"Young people voted to continue addressing the climate crisis, gun violence, personal rights and freedoms student debt relief," he said.

Garnering the support of the youth is one thing. Being able to deliver on the agenda promised will be another especially if, as many expect, Democrats lose control of the House of Representatives.

The TIP with Alisa Wiersema

Despite several high-profile election deniers losing their races on Tuesday, one major Trump-backed candidate still has a shot at winning. Republican gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake is tangled in a tight contest with Democrat Katie Hobbs, who currently serves as Arizona's secretary of state.

With tens of hundreds of thousands of votes still left to be counted, Lake would need about 51% of the outstanding vote to win the governor's mansion, according to an ABC News assessment. However, the final tabulation could still take days and stretch into early next week.

Although the lengthy process signals that local officials are navigating election administration with painstaking attention to detail, the slow drip of information could also give way to the kind of false rhetoric seen in the days following the 2020 election.

Last month, when pressed by ABC News' Jonathan Karl about whether she would accept the certified results of the 2022 election even if she loses, Lake answered with a caveat.

"I will accept the results of this election if we have a fair, honest and transparent election. Absolutely, 100%," said the former TV anchor at the time, adding, "As long as it's fair, honest and transparent."

What the future holds could still remain unclear given that Lake previously told CNN she would "win the election and accept that result."


Power Trip

"Power Trip: Those Seeking Power and Those Who Chase Them" follows 7 young reporters as they chase down candidates in the lead up to the midterms with George Stephanopoulos guiding them along the way.


ABC News' "Start Here" podcast. "Start Here" begins Friday morning with ABC's Rick Klein on crucial midterm races where votes are still being counted. Then, ABC's Rebecca Jarvis breaks down the latest inflation data and what is coming next. And, ABC's Stephanie Ebbs explains what actions are being taken at this year's UN Climate Change Conference ahead of President Biden's address.


  • President Joe Biden begins his overseas trip: He meets with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, discussing the climate, Ukraine and other issues. Biden then speaks at the 27th conference of the parties to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, in Egypt, before traveling to Phnom Penh, Cambodia, for the annual U.S.-ASEAN Summit and the East Asia Summit.
  • ABC's "This Week" on Sunday: Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D); roundtable: "This Week" Co-Anchor and ABC News Chief Washington Correspondent Jonathan Karl, former New Jersey governor and ABC News contributor Chris Christie, former Democratic National Committee Chair and ABC News contributor Donna Brazile and New York Times Editorial Board member Michelle Cottle.

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The Note is a daily ABC News feature that highlights the day's top stories in politics. Please check back next week for the latest.

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