Donald Trump’s grip on the GOP is still strong
The man who once occupied the Oval Office has been holding rallies and supporting candidates across the country this primary season. From Michigan to Kansas to Arizona to Washington state, the past week has been a major test of his influence.
It is with Trump’s strength within the Republican Party that we begin our weekly digital journey.
The former president has had a very successful Republican primary season with no incumbent or two incumbents due to redistricting. By my count, his candidates have won just under 90 percent of contested gubernatorial or congressional primaries that have no incumbent or two incumbents due to redistricting.
That’s a large number, even though his candidate won 96 percent of such primaries in the 2020 cycle.
But even Newhouse’s progress proves that Trump remains the center of power in the Republican Party. As of Sunday, Newhouse had just over 25 percent of the primary vote, while just 34 percent of voters voted for the district’s Republican candidate. For incumbents in Congress, this is very weak.
The non-Trump candidates to do so in the modern primary era appear to be Democrat Al Gore in 1998 and Hillary Clinton in 2014. Both won their party’s nominations in the next presidential election.
The closest Republicans were George H.W. Bush in 1986 and George W. Bush in 1998. Both polled in their 40s and would go on to win the Republican nomination.
While Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis did have a national victory over Trump, he still trailed him by about 25 points.
Perhaps the best way to understand Trump’s standing in the Republican Party is to look at the verbs “can” and “will.” If Trump decides to run for the Republican nomination, he could be defeated. However, he will be hard to beat.
A hazy picture of three months before Election Day
Before we get ahead of ourselves in all the talk in 2024, there’s a big election coming this year! With only about three months to go until mid-2022, the situation becomes more uncertain as the date approaches.
Furthermore, there are other issues at play besides the economy. Abortion may not be as high on voters’ priority lists as the economy, but more Americans than at any time say it’s a top issue since at least 1984.
Answering the question of who will control Congress next year also gets confusing in another way: The House and Senate may be controlled by different parties.
On top of that, those who run the election will be taking part in an exciting final three months of the 2022 campaign.