How Trump's Endorsement and the Pro-Trump Agenda Help Republicans Win GOP Primaries

© AP Photo / Joe MaioranaFormer President Donald Trump speaks at a rally at the Delaware County Fairgrounds, Saturday, April 23, 2022, in Delaware, Ohio, to endorse Republican candidates ahead of the Ohio primary on May 3.
Former President Donald Trump speaks at a rally at the Delaware County Fairgrounds, Saturday, April 23, 2022, in Delaware, Ohio, to endorse Republican candidates ahead of the Ohio primary on May 3. - Sputnik International, 1920, 30.06.2022
Candidates who have either been endorsed or supported by former US President Donald Trump were largely successful during the primaries on June 28 in Colorado, Illinois, Mississippi, New York, Oklahoma and Utah. What does this say about the Trump factor in the 2022 primaries and how could it influence the November midterms?
"It was a good night for the MAGA crew," admitted the left-leaning media website Vox on June 29: Utah Sen. Mike Lee, who enthusiastically supports Trump, fended off his more-moderate primary challengers; Gov. Kevin Stitt, who was endorsed by the former president in March, easily won the nomination in Oklahoma; Trump-endorsed Republicans Sen. Darren Bailey and Rep. Mary Miller came out on top in Illinois, to name but a few. Tuesday primaries were a reversal from last week, when the two congressional candidates supported by the former president lost their runoffs in Georgia.

"The America First movement is still in a pull position in Republican primaries," says Rory McShane, a Republican political consultant and strategist based in Texas. "Faithful Republican voters don't want a return to the unprincipled, go-along-to-get-along leadership of decades past."

According to McShane, the so-called "Trump camp" in the Republican Party is "extremely strong." Furthermore, "even candidates running against Trump-endorsed candidates are focusing their messaging on their similarities to President Trump," in order to command support among Republican voters, he remarks.
For their part, Democrats launched an unprecedented effort to interfere in GOP nominating contests across the country to fund "extreme right" candidates and attacking more moderate Republican hopefuls, according to Politico. Democratic-affiliated entities have spent millions on political ad contracts as the Dems believe that their candidates will easily defeat GOP MAGA nominees in the midterms. However, it appears that they have miscalculated, according to Timothy Hagle, a political science professor at the University of Iowa.
"Democrats tried to influence some races to get more conservative candidates as opponents," he says. "They weren't very successful in that strategy. Plus, there's always the possibility that the more conservative candidate could end up winning in the general election."
President Donald Trump reacts during the final presidential debate at Belmont University, Thursday, Oct. 22, 2020, in Nashville, Tenn., with Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden  - Sputnik International, 1920, 23.06.2022
Britt's Alabama Primary Victory: Why a Trump Endorsement is a Tricky Thing

MAGA Movement Alive, GOP Has Plenty Trump Cards

Despite the Dems smearing of the MAGA camp especially following the controversial Capitol Hill incident of January 6, 2020, the pro-Trump movement is going on, according to the observers.
"The MAGA movement is alive and well, steamrolling traditional milquetoast Republicans," says McShane. "President Trump is undoubtedly the leader of the movement, but it exists outside of him also."
Still, one should not see Trump's endorsement as a magic spell, since some candidates backed by the former president won and some did not, according to Hagle.
"The dynamics of a particular set of candidates and of the issues in an area make a difference," the political scientist explains. "Whether a candidate actively supports Trump is likely secondary to how he or she handles the issues. In the post-Trump era many voters want someone who is willing to fight for the issues that are important to them. Republicans, in particular, have often been disappointed in the officeholders who don't seem to fight on the important issues. That's one reason why Trump did so well even though some were turned off by his personal style."
However, there has also been the case where Mehmet Oz, a GOP candidate for Pennsylvania, heavily capitalized on Trump's endorsement but dropped the president's brand immediately after winning the primaries. Observers warn that this may happen again, casting doubt on Alabama GOP winner Katie Britt's loyalty to the ex-president, in particular.
In general, the GOP has a lot of trump cards in these midterms, starting with Joe Biden's botched withdrawal from Afghanistan in August 2021 and ending with skyrocketing inflation and soaring food and energy prices, which the majority of the US voters blame on the president despite the latter's attempt to shift the responsibility on his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin.
"The issues for this election are the usual 'kitchen table' issues such as jobs, the economy, and healthcare," says Hagle. "Inflation is a particular problem and we see other issues where Republicans find it easy to criticize Democrats and the Biden administration (e.g., baby formula shortage, other supply issues, immigration, rising crime)."
© SputnikDonald Trump's 'Save America' campaign-style rally in Sarasota, Florida, 3 June, 2021
Donald Trump's  'Save America' campaign-style rally in Sarasota, Florida, 3 June, 2021 - Sputnik International, 1920, 30.06.2022
Donald Trump's 'Save America' campaign-style rally in Sarasota, Florida, 3 June, 2021

Will Trump Run Again in 2024?

It's still unclear, however, whether Donald Trump himself will toss his hat into the ring in 2024.
Even though President Trump's support among Republicans isn't going anywhere, McShane doesn't think that the former president wants to seek a new bid.
"I don't think it is entirely clear at this point how strong Trump might be going forward," says Hagle. "One thing we often see in those thinking about a presidential run is greater participation in the preceding midterm elections. We've seen Trump be fairly active in the primaries. We'll see if he continues to be active in the midterms. We'll also see the extent to which candidates want him to participate on their behalf."
Given the problems facing the Biden administration, Trump and his supporters may believe that Donald has a good chance of defeating Joe or any other Democratic contender in 2024. At the same time, "given how successful the left was in demonizing him, many Republicans might prefer someone who is as strong as Trump on the issues but doesn't have the same personal style," according to the political scientist.
"This is why Governor DeSantis is getting a lot of attention," he stresses, referring to the 46th governor of Florida endorsed by Trump back in 2018.
Nevertheless, a new poll by Morning Consult/Politico released on 29 June clearly indicated that Trump has maintained his position among GOP voters, with the majority saying they'd vote for him in a 2024 Republican presidential primary. "Even though support for DeSantis appears to be on the rise, Trump continues to hold a commanding lead over the governor's 22%," Newsweek remarked on Wednesday.
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