Trump wanes influence in Republican struggle

The Republican primary season is off to a tense start, but Donald Trump doesn’t appear to be as influential in the party as he once was.

Republicans have started the primary season to select candidates who will face Democrats for seats in the House and Senate in November.

In the most intense races, nearly every Republican candidate is modeled after former President Donald Trump. Your websites and ads are filled with it. They also promote his policies, repeating many of the statements Trump made during the 2020 campaign.

However, the primary elections that took place show that Trump’s influence with Republican voters appears to have waned.

Candidates backed by former President Trump have lost races for governors in Idaho and Nebraska, as well as races for North Carolina state representation. In the Ohio and Pennsylvania primary, about 70 percent of Republican voters voted against the Trump-backed candidate.

In next week’s race, Trump’s proposed Georgia governor and Alabama senator are trailing their opponents in the polls.

Former President Trump increasingly seems to have to “follow” supporters rather than lead them. Republican voters’ distrust of power and desire for a hard line that once made Trump strong are now working against him.

According to Ken Spain, a strategist who was a member of the Republican congressional committee, Trumpism will only grow stronger in the Republican Party without Trump.

“MAGA (Make America Great Again) is a bottom-up, not top-down, movement,” Spain said.

President Trump during a campaign event in Arizona, United States, on October 19, 2020. Photo: AFP.

Mr. Trump during a campaign event in Arizona, U.S., on October 19, 2020. Image: AFP.

The primary isn’t the first time conservative voters have shown a growing trend away from Trump. Last August, at one of Trump’s biggest post-term rallies, crowds booed after he urged them to get a Covid-19 vaccine.

In January, some of the most influential voices in the former president’s inner circle publicly criticized his choice for the Tennessee congressional seat. He backed candidate Morgan Ortagus, who served as State Department spokesman in the Trump administration for two years, but many Republicans said Ortagus doesn’t meet the MAGA criteria.

These petty rebellions erupt whenever Trump’s supporters see his actions and statements as “not enough for Trump.”

“Trump has no successor in America First policy. He still is,” said Kellyanne Conway, Trump’s 2016 campaign manager and former White House adviser. “Many Republicans may love him and continue to support him for another presidential nomination but not his election in this year’s midterm congressional elections.”

In the primary, many Republican candidates went to great lengths to win Trump’s support. But the rise of the self-governing wing in the MAGA movement has allowed even non-Trump-backed candidates to win.

“MAGA does not belong to President Trump,” candidate Kathy Barnette said during a debate for the Pennsylvania Senate seat in April.

Barnette’s appearance resulted in a significant drop in the percentage of voters who voted for Mehmet Oz, the Trump-backed candidate. From a prominent candidate, Oz now faces close competition from David McCormick, who has repeatedly been criticized by Trump.

Barnette’s rise stunned Trump, who advisers said had never considered backing her. But the strength of the autonomous wing in the pro-Trump platform is not surprising.

As President, Trump has often worried about pleasing his supporters. He rarely made important decisions without considering their reactions. This has prevented him from reaching a major deal with Congress on immigration policy and has fueled budget wars with Democrats, leading to several US government shutdowns.

Fear of appearing weak in the eyes of his supporters prompted him not to wear a mask in public for months during the pandemic, according to advisers close to him.

Some advisers warn that the recent tense Republican primary could further erode his influence and alienate even more voters.

They urged Trump to improve relations with former adversaries. However, Trump did not call to congratulate Jim Pillen, who defeated his nominee for governor of Nebraska.

Bad omens keep popping up. In Ohio, about 718,000 Republican voters voted for a candidate other than one supported by Trump.

Supporters hold up a photo of former President Donald Trump at a campaign event in Delaware, Ohio last month.  Photo: NY Times.

Supporters hold up a photo of former President Donald Trump at a campaign event in Delaware, Ohio last month. Picture: New York Times.

The former president could also face other problems. In the Pennsylvania governor’s race, Trump endorsed Doug Mastriano over Lou Barletta, a former congressman who campaigned with him in the 2016 election.

“Where’s the loyalty?” said former Congressman Tom Marino, another 2016 Trump supporter, at a campaign rally last week.

“Loyalty to what?” Trump replied in a May 16 interview. He criticized Barletta for losing the 2018 Senate race and for not fighting harder to support Trump’s claims about the 2020 election.

“My allegiance goes to the man who knows how to fight and that person is Mastriano. I didn’t even see Lou Barletta fight for it,” Trump said.

Chris Christie, who is reportedly considering running for president in 2024, says the primaries so far show voters’ desire to shake off Trump’s hold in the Republican Party.

“I think the majority of the primary will tell you that Republicans want to win back,” Christie said. “In 2018-2020, under Trump, we lost the House of Representatives, the Senate and the White House. This is the second time in the party’s history that this has happened. The first time it happened was to Herbert Hoover. its president.”

than tam (Corresponding New York Times)