Laura Ingraham to Trump: Voters want “a winner, not a whiner, …for the love of God, stop talking about 2020”
“I’m going to offer my free advice to both Trump and DeSantis — both will probably be unhappy”
The 2024 GOP presidential primaries are still six or more months away, but it’s never too early to look at the state of the current frontrunners’ campaigns and offer some advice, and Fox News’s Laura Ingraham did just that on her show Friday.
As she predicted neither former president Donald Trump’s nor Florida governor Ron DeSantis’ camp is thrilled with her advice, but it’s actually pretty sound advice for both candidates.
Transcript via Fox News:
I’m going to offer my free advice to both Trump and DeSantis — both will probably be unhappy, but there you have it. As someone who’s covered seven previous presidential campaigns and worked for President Reagan, I think it’s time that both of you candidates remember a few things. First, to Gov. DeSantis. The voters in Ohio and Arizona, Pennsylvania — they don’t know you very well, but they don’t want to hear a litany of Florida accomplishments at this point, as great as they are.
They want to know that you’re going to be able to defeat Biden on the issue that is number one: the economy. So, talk about the economy. What are your specific solutions to protect American jobs and bring down the price of energy? Smile, also. Have fun out there. Don’t be afraid to show your personality and ask the people what’s on their minds. I promise you it will not be Disney or Bud Light, and as for President Trump, keep your eye on the prize: 270 electoral votes. Everything you say, everything you do, should be geared to winning in the states you need to win.
This should be a 50-state campaign for America. Attacking popular Republican governors or senators and battleground states is more than unwise. It’s self-destructive. Why do it? Voters in a general election want to vote for a winner, not a whiner. So please, for the love of God, stop talking about 2020. That will not bring a single voter out to support you who didn’t support you before. You need to grow the pot, not shrink it. Be magnanimous and be the elder statesman that Biden is not obviously capable of. That will reassure people, and look, your policies worked before, they’re going to work again. . . .
People from both camps are pretty ticked off, but I think she’s right on most (not all) of this. For example, it’s not always clear when DeSantis is reciting his very real and very impressive list of accomplishments in Florida how that relates to the people in these early primary states. His point is, I think, that he’s a solid conservative who gets things done, but Ingraham is right, voters need to know what he has planned for the country.
Her point about dismissing the culture wars, however, is likely not a good one. Americans across the political divides—notably suburban moms—are incensed by what is going on in schools and are fed up with the heavy-handed ideological agenda that has a death grip on our institutions (from the military to Hollywood to everywhere in between). This angst, anger, and dissatisfaction is very real, and it’s also very hard to see if you live in a DC-media bubble.
I find DeSantis very charming and charismatic, but then I’m not a fan of “big” personalities. They wear thin fast, and I can’t wait to escape them when I run across them in real life. But I can see her point about his needing to relax a little bit and to have fun, to smile more often and in response to people with whom he’s talking (not random smiles for the cameras).
I’d also add to Ingraham’s advice to focus on “Drill, baby, drill”—yes, it is a phrase associated with Sarah Palin, but Trump also used and still uses it to great effect—and to pound Biden on this rush to a green new world in which we all sit in the dark, millions dying of heat or cold because Team Biden has decided we don’t need those modern conveniences that keep us warm in the winter or cool in the summer. People want reliable, affordable energy at the flip of the switch. The vast majority really don’t care where it comes from, whether it’s “clean” or “green” or “dirty.” It just has to work. All the time. And be affordable.
Ingraham’s advice for Trump is also largely on point, particularly given the clear irregularities and actual coordinated campaign to “fortify” the 2020 election against him: Focus on the 270 Electoral College votes needed to win in 2024. Stop harping on 2020, and I’d add, make sure that the states he’s targeting are won in cheat-proof landslides.
Trump can’t achieve that with only his base, and they will turn out whether or not he spends the next six months tossing red meat at them. He needs to focus on determining who is still winnable (American voters have already decided what they think of him for the most part) and then work for their votes, not for votes he already has in the bag no matter what he says.
There are reports that Team Biden is focusing in on North Carolina, this is not good news for Trump who won the state by only 1.4 points in 2020. If Biden wins that state’s Electoral votes, there really is no path back to the White House for Trump. That is important, not riling up his already loyal, already riled up base.
Ingraham’s “winner not a whiner” statement is getting a lot of attention, but she’s right. The general election voters Trump needs but does not already have are not going to be swayed by—and are likely to be turned off by—his constant whining and perpetual victimhood.
His complaints do have merit, but that’s not the point. Winning elections is the point, and anyone who is going to be swayed by Trump’s constant whining, already has been or has factored that into their decision about whom to support in the primaries or, more importantly, the general.
She’s also right about Trump taking the role of elder statesman and serious leader of the Republican party. Undecided general election voters or those who can still be won over by Trump are not going to decide on him or be won over if all they see is constant drama, wildly inappropriate friendly fire on members of his own party, and the promise of four more years of instability and social unrest. Regardless of where that instability and unrest came from (and we all know), Americans who are not already committed to Trump don’t want more of it.
Ingraham is, rightly, focused on what these two candidates need to do to reboot their primary campaign (DeSantis) or to start broadening their base both in the GOP primary and in the general (Trump). And she’s not entirely wrong.
It really doesn’t matter if Trump wins the GOP primary if he can’t win the general, and right now, it does not look like he can. Likewise, it doesn’t matter how electable in a general election DeSantis is if he can’t win the GOP presidential primary, and right now, it does not look like he can.
Here’s Ingraham’s full segment:
The Democrats are banking on these trials and they're banking on a distracted electorate to pull Biden over the finish line. pic.twitter.com/AL9hJDHawt
— Laura Ingraham (@IngrahamAngle) July 22, 2023
Needless to say, people have thoughts:
Just go away, Laura.
Oh, wait… you will when your few remaining viewers see this. https://t.co/pAIAeYjQ1T
— Juanita Broaddrick (@atensnut) July 22, 2023
I am a President Trump fan. I feel America needs him. But. I also thing Laura Ingraham is right.
— Pat Weatherman (@Cowboy1942) July 22, 2023
Trump can do both!!
Motivate based on the rigged 2020 election AND deliver messaging on the future.
It’s not either/or.
It’s all of it!
It’s a very corrupt system he’s up against.
Lauren Ingraham is wrong on this one.
Try That In A Small Town https://t.co/TlBkIjhCF8
— FFT™👠Conservative Values & News (@FemalesForTrump) July 22, 2023
I don’t know — he is considered up there
I am getting fed up with Newsmax and now Fox
Laura Ingraham is truly intelligent— now attacked
for truthfully saying Trump whines too much
— s.s. lark (@louiedadawg) July 22, 2023
Laura Ingraham said what we all are thinking. Good on her.
— DoneWithTrump🐊 (@Ron2024USA) July 22, 2023
I read and listened to Laura Ingraham's word of advice.
I personally did not find it out of line or find her to be insincere. As conservatives, we need to remember that Ronald Reagan believed, if we agree with someone 80% of the time, they are an 80% partner.
Not everyone at… https://t.co/00dOmeiNhz
— Ruth the Truth (@panran101) July 22, 2023
I see the Trumpers are going after Laura Ingraham now I think what she said was dead on 💯 Trump won’t win the 2024 election by crying about the 2020 election (Which I agree was stolen from him) but it’s time to move on and focus on winning the election next year #2024Election
— Anthony Michael Galzerano (@galzeranoa) July 22, 2023
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