Nobody, in 1974, wanted to run as a Nixon Republican. In 1981, nobody wanted to run for office as a Carter Democrat. In the 2008 election, Republicans started running away from Bush before he even left the White House. He did not even attend that year’s RNC and has never spoken at one in person since leaving office.
Yet Republicans, who managed to win the presidency, Senate, and House, before Trump had even entered politics, are acting like the only path for them to regain power is to attach themselves to Trump like barnacles.
The challenge Republicans face, of course, is that there is a deep disconnect between Republican voters and the general electorate. Though down from the upper 80s, Trump still leaves the presidency with 82% of Republicans approving of his performance. In deep red districts, this means those who get in Trump’s crosshairs risk a primary challenge. The problem is, just 30% of independents approve of Trump, meaning that as long as the party is tied to him, they will have difficulty winning outside of already deeply Republican areas, which they would expect to win no matter what.