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GOP strategist: Trump is toast if he doesn’t win back one group | Opinion

This election is shaping up to be one of the most consequential in our history. Every news story seems to be a reminder that our government isn’t fully committed to protecting freedom or defending the United States and its interests.

Joe Biden’s outbursts over the special prosecutor’s claims regarding his age and memory only served to further underscore my belief that he is not fit to be the leader of the free world.

The problem we face is that it is very hard to beat an incumbent president — even one as weak as Biden. In the modern political era, only Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush and Donald Trump have lost reelection. The only former president to have lost a reelection bid and then returned to win a second, nonconsecutive term was Grover Cleveland in 1892.

Republicans, the odds are not in our favor.

Matt Wylie
Matt Wylie

Don’t cite me the latest polls. Head-to-head match-ups are misleading — often just rhetoric employed to shape a narrative and rarely accurately reflect Election Day results. Need proof? Just look at any poll from 2016 that showed Hillary Clinton winning. Polling was so bad that year, that Trump even exclaimed, “I don’t believe the polls anymore.”

Instead of pinning our hopes on polls, let’s look at the math instead.

Trump lost five states in 2020 that he carried in 2016. To get 270 electoral votes, our Republican nominee must win back Georgia and Arizona and pick up at least one more state. That means we need to either convince voters in traditionally Democratic strongholds such as Michigan, Pennsylvania or Wisconsin that they should vote Republican. Or, we must pick up a state like Virginia where there is a popular GOP governor.

This is an impossible task without winning suburban women.

To do that, Republicans must convince suburban women to trust us again — not argue that the E. Jean Carroll judgment or the Stormy Daniels hush money case is merely “election inference” or “weaponization against a political opponent.” To suburban women, these cases are just the latest example of the longstanding pattern of Trump’s denigration of women — exhibit A on why they will never vote for him.

Republicans should not counter with the tired political cliché of “it’s the economy stupid” or point to how things were better when Trump was in office. That’s just wishful thinking. In every election since 2018, suburban women in swing states have been very clear in their rejection of Trump.

We must start asking the question: Can Trump win in November? Every Republican voting in primaries across the country has a responsibility to ask themselves this question.

To be clear, I am not in any way anti-Trump. I voted for him in 2016 and 2020. As a political strategist, I marvel at his innate ability to use political jiu-jitsu to deflect attacks and destroy his political foes. I believe Trump was a good president. America was safer and we had a robust pre-pandemic economy with low unemployment rates and increasing wages.

I am, however, anti-losing and the stakes of this election are just too high. If we get it wrong, we doom America to four more years of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.

Winning in November is all that matters. We must consider that when we go to the polls, and we must do so without bias or wishful thinking. We cannot make our decision based on perceived grievances, but rather who can expand the base and win back suburban women.

Republicans, we face a new “Rendezvous with Destiny.” It is our responsibility at this moment to stand up and fight for America. The choices we make will determine the strength of our republic and shape the direction of our country for generations to come.

Matt Wylie is a Republican political strategist and analyst who lives on Hilton Head Island. He has worked on federal, state and local campaigns.