Commentary: Trump can help — but is more likely to hurt — the GOP in 2022

Looking to the mid-term elections next year, it’s clear Republicans have a good chance to win control of both the U.S. Senate and House.

But much depends on the actions of one person – Donald Trump. It’s unfortunate that one individual has so much control over what happens to his out-of-power party.

Trump could be a great asset to his party and almost ensure wins in 2022 if he stayed out of primary elections, encouraged his base to vote for GOP nominees, demonstrated a bit of grace and humility and was a team player.

Or, he can seriously weigh down the party and almost ensure Democratic victories if he endorses primary candidates who can’t win general elections, if he discourages his base from voting because “elections are rigged,” and if he demands loyalty to his nonsensical and single-minded claim that the 2020 election was stolen from him.

I don’t doubt that some election irregularities occurred in the pandemic-impacted 2020 election. Many states changed procedures to make it easy for people to vote amid COVID-19 restrictions.  But voters have moved on. There is very little appetite, except among a small group of Trump loyalists, to continue to focus on 2020 grievances.

I claim standing to talk about Trump and how he is likely to hurt the party because I voted for him twice. And, as a mainstream conservative, I stand by those votes. I was in good company with 56 percent of Utah voters in 2020. I preferred Trump’s policies over the direction liberal Democrats promised to take the country. I really disliked the unfair way the national news media treated Trump.

But Trump was his own worst enemy with his deeply flawed character and narcissistic personality. He lost, and will lose again if he runs, because he makes everything about himself. Rather than being about conservative principles and a party that needs to win elections, it’s all about his personal glory.

A political party and a political movement can’t be just about one person. Great leadership requires a modicum of humility, a willingness to sacrifice a bit for the greater good.

Trump could really help Republicans win back control of the legislative branch of government in 2020 by being a team player. I fear he will instead drag the party down to defeat.