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TV pundits, election analysts declare Trump 'the biggest loser' of the 2022 midterms

Republicans were expecting a "red wave" on Election Day, with the typical gains for the out-of-power party turbo-charged by high inflation and economic malaise. That wave did not materialize, and "many pundits and journalists across the spectrum pointed their fingers at former President [Donald] Trump," Fox News reports. "As several Trump-backed candidates in major races lost or lagged behind other Republicans in their states, a consensus appeared to emerge that Trump had a bad night."

It was unclear Wednesday morning whether Republicans had captured the House or Senate, but "what I can tell you is the biggest loser tonight is Donald Trump," ABC's Jonathan Karl said. 

"I think you have to say Donald Trump has now presided over two disastrous midterm elections," Democratic strategist David Plouffe said on MSNBC. "This should've been a much stronger night for Republicans," and a top reason it wasn't "is Donald Trump. He's deeply unpopular, he supported a bunch of horrible Senate candidates who may end up coughing up the football here."

Trump's pick for Ohio Senate, J.D. Vance, did win. But Republican candidates Trump had endorsed or even recruited lost in several key states — Mehmet Oz and Doug Mastriano in Pennsylvania, Don Bolduc in New Hampshire, Lee Zeldin in New York, Tudor Dixon in Michigan, Tim Michaels in Wisconsin — while several others were trailing in preliminary vote counts, including Kari Lake and Blake Masters in Arizona and Herschel Walker in Georgia. 

"There's a potential narrative out of this night that if you're a discerning Republican voter trying to figure out the future direction of this party, we once again learn that Trump is not a national winner for the Republicans," conservative commentator Scott Jennings said on CNN.

Trump had been expecting to celebrate big Republican gains, and his role in securing them, at an election night party at Mar-a-Lago, but as results came in, "he was not particularly interested in addressing the crowd," Michael Bender and Maggie Haberman report at The New York Times. Trump was looking for momentum before announcing his presidential bid, but now Republicans may remember "he was the first president in decades to lose the House, the Senate, and the White House within four years."

Trump doesn't seem likely to accept any responsibility. Before the polls closed, he told NewsNation he thinks if the 330 candidates he endorsed win, "I should get all the credit. And if they lose, I should not be blamed at all."