Trump tried to show that impeachment hasn’t harmed him by placing himself on the ballot in three Southern states, and the plan completely backfired.
After the Kentucky defeat, the president added, much was riding on Louisiana.
“So, Trump took a loss,” the president said, referring to Bevin’s defeat. “So you got to give me a big win, please. OK? OK?”
Trump’s activity in the Louisiana contest was particularly extensive: In addition to the rallies, he called into conservative radio stations on Rispone’s behalf, recorded get-out-the-vote robocalls and videos, and sent out a stream of tweets savaging Edwards. On Saturday, the president wrote several tweets encouraging Louisianans to cast their ballots for Rispone.
Trump needed Louisiana because he was trying to show Republicans that the Kentucky loss was all on Gov. Matt Bevin. The president made each of these contests about supporting Donald Trump. Matt Bevin ran against impeachment and lost. Rispone had the benefit of a full Trump push in a red state where the president has a 52% approval rating and lost.
Instead of displaying strength, Trump put his political weakness on full display. The base of the Republican Party has shrunk, and the Republicans that are left are demonstrating that they aren’t going to whatever the president asks without question.
Trump is the weakest incumbent running for reelection since George W. Bush in 1992, and his Southern strategy gave Republicans more reason to worry in 2020.