Sometimes headlines don’t do justice to columns, as in the case of Henry Olsen’s latest. “Donald Trump may not have hurt the GOP as much as some might think,” it reads, but Olsen doesn’t provide any reason to doubt (and may himself believe) that Trump threw away his reelection campaign and the Republican Senate majority, too, which is plenty of harm for one man to do to a party.
Olsen’s main point is that Republicans can build a majority if they keep some of the voters Trump brought to the party while winning back some of the ones he drove away (chiefly suburban, independent white men). Those new voters now say they’re Republican, he notes in an email to me, while the departed ones aren’t saying they’re Democrats. In the swing states, Republicans now outnumber Democrats — which means they won’t have to win a majority of independents to prevail. If that keeps being true, Olsen says, “for the first time in our lifetime, Dems will be fighting uphill rather than Rs.”