After the US midterm elections, Republicans are very frustrated. This is also due to Donald Trump: Because his hand-picked candidates failed particularly often. A small constituency in the north-west provides an example of how the ex-president got in the way of his own party.

Congressman Jaime Herrera Beutler was a safe bet for Republicans. For 12 years, she held the Clark County constituency in rural northwestern Washington State, and was reelected five times, some without serious competition from the Democrats.

But in the summer of 2022 Herrera Beutler’s time was up: the moderate Republican, popular in her constituency, failed in the primary elections against a challenger from her own party. your offense? She was one of the few Republican MPs to vote to impeach the outgoing president after radical Trump supporters stormed the Capitol in January 2021.

The result: Trump withdrew his support from the successful MPs – and instead spoke out in favor of Joe Kent, a strident extremist who wanted to criminalize all abortions, including those after rape or for medical reasons. Like his great patron, he spread the lie that the 2020 presidential election was “stolen” and that he described the vaccines against the coronavirus as “experimental gene therapy”.

In the run-up to the election against his Democratic opponent, Kent was confident of victory. The district is “deep red MAGA country,” he said at a campaign event, alluding to Trump’s “Make America Great Again” campaign slogan. Experts also considered the Republican seat in Congress to be secure. The well-known statistics site “Fivethirtyeight” put Kent’s chances of winning at 98 percent.

But Kent lost – against a Democratic auto repair shop owner. The politically inexperienced Marie Gluesenkamp Perez managed “perhaps the biggest political surprise in the country,” commented the Seattle Times. Before the midterm elections, the 34-year-old, who was on average more than two decades younger than the rest of the MPs, was virtually unknown.

Unlike Kent, who had previously risen as a star of conservative media. Almost every day he sat in front of the microphone with Steve Bannon, Trump’s former chief strategist, for his podcast. On other days, he attended the influential TV show hosted by far-right Fox News host Tucker Carlson, one of the media world’s top Trump whisperers.

But the lesson from these midterm elections seems to be that culture wars and lies about stolen ballots are not enough of a political platform for US voters. In the simultaneous elections for the posts of interior minister, Republican candidates ran in several states who promised to change the election laws in the spirit of Trump – they all lost.

Just like Jim Marchant from the key state of Nevada, who missed his entry into the House of Representatives two years ago. “We have something in common: President Trump and I lost an election due to manipulation in 2020.” Also this year a Democrat triumphed over him. Similar play in the Senate decision, which was finally made in Nevada: Catherine Cortez Masto defended her post against election denier Adam Laxalt.

There is now rumbling among Republicans – that could possibly cost Trump the leadership role in the party. Some Republican politicians are now pointing the finger at Trump. Outgoing Republican Maryland Governor Larry Hogan told CNN on Sunday, “Trump cost us the last three elections and I don’t want that to happen a fourth time.”

A debate about the basic course has erupted within the Republican Party. Republican Senator Josh Hawley from Missouri wrote on Twitter about his party on Saturday evening shortly after the announcement of the Democrats’ success in the Senate: “The old party is dead. Time to bury it.” It is time to build something new.