Politics: Trump and the GOP (Part 1 of a Series)

Donald Trump still has a lot of influence in the Republican Party. Never one to not take advantage of his assets, he has weighed in heavily on Republican primaries for this fall’s mid-term elections. Although results have been mixed, his endorsed candidates have won in several key states that will be battlegrounds this fall and will likely determine control of the US Senate.

All this comes against the backdrop of Republicans losing control of the Senate in January 2021. Because of a retirement, both US Senate seats in Georgia were up for election. In a state where every statewide office was held by Republicans, Republicans only had to win one of them to have a majority in the US Senate. Trump had just lost the election in November and as he campaigned, he kept repeating that the election was stolen in GA and made every campaign rally about his lost election rather than about the people actually running for office. Some Republican voters felt there was no need to vote if it was rigged, others were tired of looking back at the last election and Republicans lost both US Senate seats and in doing so lost control of the US Senate. Behind the scenes, Republican operatives were furious.

Unfortunately for the GOP, the pattern seems to be repeating itself.

The environment is against Democrats. The party that has the presidency usually loses seats in mid-term elections. More, inflation is the highest it has been in decades and President Biden’s approval rating is about at 40%. Even most Democrats polled hope that he does not run for re-election in two years. Republicans could hardly ask for better circumstances, politically. This summer, optimism was high among Republicans that they would get the majority in the House, with gains of 25-35 seats, and in the US Senate and would make gains at the state level, too. Yet that hope is fading.

Donald Trump is using his influence not to help the GOP but to take control of the Party and to even old scores. He has campaigned against sitting Republicans because they crossed him somehow, and he has endorsed candidates only that express absolute loyalty and belief in overturning the last election, even if those candidates are not the most electable and could help Republicans take control of Congress.

Thinking Man predicts that Donald Trump will cause Republicans to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Republicans will not get the majority in the Senate and will lose key races elsewhere. Mark it down, the best friend that Democrats have this election is Donald Trump and he will keep Republicans from having a landslide in the mid-terms.

If you are a politics ‘junkie’ you can see a few examples below, where Trump backed the candidate that was loyal to him but was likely to lose a general election and thus, has pretty much ensured Democratic victories where there once was real optimism about Republican gains.

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In candidate recruitment, the GOP hoped to get popular governors in Arizona (Doug Doucey) and New Hampshire (John Sununu) to run for Senate against vulnerable Democratic incumbents. Both had won their previous re-elections fairly handily and have strong approval ratings. Yet each had long standing differences with Trump and both declined to run.

Arizona

In Arizona, where Democratic Senator Mark Kelly in AZ was vulnerable the Trump endorsed candidate, Blake Masters won the GOP primary. As soon as he did, Cook Political Report changed their ranking in that race. Kelly is now the favorite for re-election.

Also in Arizona, Trump backed extremist Kari Lake for governor (the previous governor cannot run again due to term limits). Lake won the primary. She will lose against the Democrat in the general election, Thinking Man predicts.

Pennsylvania

In Pennsylvania, where GOP Sen. Pat Toomey is retiring, Trump endorsed Dr. Mehmet Oz. Oz has no political background, has lived in PA less than two years and seemingly the only thing going for him is that he is a well-known TV personality. It looks like he will go down to defeat in the general election after winning the Republican primary by about 1% of the vote. This will be a gain for Democrats if Oz loses.

For governor, Trump endorsed extremist Doug Mastriano against the more electable GOP candidate. Mastriano won the primary and will lose in the general election, big, Thinking Man predicts.

Wisconsin

US Senator Ron Johnson is running for re-election and has been endorsed by Trump. Johnson has said enough really off-the-wall things (to be kind) that even in a crazy election year he will be considered too crazy by most people. He is behind in the polls and has been consistently so, despite being an incumbent in a bad year for Democrats. Only an incumbent as bad as Johnson could lose in a ‘GOP friendly’ year.

The governor’s race in Wisconsin had been considered a toss-up with Democratic incumbent Tony Evers viewed as very vulnerable. In the GOP primary, Trump endorsed Tim Michels. Michels is on the extreme, even for Republicans, but won the nomination. Since that time, Michels has asked a former judge who is still recommending overturning the 2020 election to campaign with him. Since Michel’s nomination, the Democratic incumbent has taken a consistent lead in polling and will win re-election, Thinking Man predicts.

Michigan

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer had almost no chance at re-election a year ago. Whitmer has been embroiled in controversy almost her whole term in office, most infamously for locking down the state and telling people not to travel during covid while, literally, at the same time her husband was calling a resort to have them get a boat ready for the Whitmer family vacation. About the time that controversy died down, another similar hypocritical covid-related incident happened, among other missteps. Whitmer’s office was viewed as almost a sure pick up by the GOP.

The Trump backed candidate won the GOP nomination and is now behind in the polls and has been for some time.

North Carolina

Republican US Senator Richard Burr is retiring. Popular former Governor Pat McCrory was running for the GOP nomination but Trump endorsed Ted Budd. Budd won the GOP nomination and the race, which had previously leaned Republican is now considered a toss up

The list could go on but the story is similar.

Politically, 2022 should be a year when Republicans make historic gains: the other party holds the presidency and the President is as unpopular as almost any in history at this point in his term. Yet, Thinking Man predicts that Democrats will pick up seats in the US Senate, and will pick up governorships. Democrats should send a Christmas card to Donald Trump and thank him. He may possibly be the only one that can save them from Joe Biden.

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