First, Trump fatigue. Enough voters in enough key states simply had enough of Trump and his histrionics. Yes, Trump inspired more Americans to vote for him in 2020 then any Republican and even increased his share of the African American, Hispanic, Muslim and Asian vote — netting a greater share of minority votes than any Republican since 1960, but not enough to overcome the increase in votes Biden received from Democrats and voters tired of Trump.

Given the other election results, it is hard not to see clearly that the same voters who rejected Trump voted for Republicans on the rest of the ticket. That doesn’t, therefore, mean another Republican would have won the presidency. Trump is the double-edged sword that greatly expanded the Republican base over the last four years, but also alienated key voters from supporting him personally. There is little evidence another candidate would have expanded the base enough to allow other Republicans to win. The key going forward is the Trump policy agenda without the Trump fatigue. That makes Mike Pence a prime contender in 2024.

Next, the continued ability of the mainstream media to craft a powerful anti-Republican narrative that reaches too many Americans still is too dominant. As I’ve noted before, imagine what the outcome of the election would have looked like if the media coverage of Trump was just 60 percent percent negative instead of the 90 percent negative coverage it has been for four years.