The man who used to occupy the Oval Office was organizing rallies and endorsing candidates across the country in the primary season. And this past week has provided critical tests of his influence, from Michigan to Kansas, across Arizona and even Washington State.
Thanks to Trump’s strength within the Republican Party, we begin our weekly journey in numbers.
The former president was very successful this primary season in GOP contests with no occupants or those with two legislators due to redistricting. By my count, his candidates have won less than 90% of the contested gubernatorial or congressional primaries that had neither incumbents nor two incumbents due to redistricting.
That’s a solid number, although down from the 96% primaries his candidates won in the 2020 cycle.
But even Newhouse’s advances prove that Trump remains a powerhouse in the Republican Party. As of Sunday, Newhouse had just over 25% of the primary vote and just 34% of those who voted for a district Republican candidate. That’s too weak for a member of Congress.
The non-Trump candidates who have done so in the modern primary era seem to be Democrats Al Gore, in 1998, and Hillary Clinton, in 2014. Both won their party’s nomination in the next presidential election.
The closest Republicans were George HW Bush in 1986 and George W. Bush in 1998. Both were in their low forties and would go on to win the Republican nomination.
While it’s true that Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is ahead of Trump nationally, he’s still about 25 points behind him.
Perhaps the best way to understand Trump’s standing in the Republican Party is to look at the verbs “could” and “would.” Trump can be defeated if he decides to run for the Republican nomination. However, it will be difficult to overcome.
Blurry picture three months before election day
Before we get all the talk of 2024, there is a big election going to be held this year! There are only three months left until the 2022 midterm, and the picture is becoming more and more murky as we get closer to history.
Moreover, there are other issues at play besides the economy. Abortion may not rank as high on a voter’s priority list as the economy, but more Americans than at any time since at least 1984 say it’s a major problem.
The answer to the question of who will control Congress next year is also muddled in another way: The House and Senate may be controlled by different parties.
The bottom line is that the people running are going to get through the exciting final three months of the 2022 campaign.