Trump is no kingmaker in the Republican party. That is increasingly clear

The most eye-catching result of Tuesday’s suite of midterm primaries is Georgia’s incumbent governor, Brian Kemp, demolishing former senator David Perdue in his re-election primary. Former president Donald Trump has spent the better part of the last two years publicly savaging Kemp for the latter’s refusal to unilaterally overturn President Joe Biden’s Georgia win in the 2020 verkiesing. Despite Trump’s public support and universal name recognition, Perdue is losing by landslide margins in every corner of the state. Trump also targeted the secretary of state, Brad Raffensperger, and attorney general, Chris Carr, who are both up over Trump’s endorsees by large margins.

This is a continuation of a trend we have seen in Republican primaries thus far this cycle. Many Trump-endorsed candidates have lost, including Representative Madison Cawthorn, or been held to fairly low percentages, such as the Senate candidates Mehmet Oz and JD Vance. It’s clear that the 2020 election and personal loyalty to Trump have diminishing returns with Republican primary voters.

While any Republican would certainly love to have Trump’s endorsement, he’s far from a kingmaker in the party. Fundamentally, most Republican voters vote Republican for the same reasons they always did: lower taxes and imposing conservative culture war policies on others. Elected officials whom Republican voters perceive as governing well and delivering results will be rewarded regardless of whether they tried to “stop the steal”. Op die ou end, Trump’s single-minded fixation on the election, which most voters even in his own party consider a distraction, could do real damage to his prospects in 2024.

On the Democratic side, both sides of the party’s civil war seem to have been drawn into a stalemate. The party’s centrist wing has landed on a potent strategy after being punched in the mouth by superior progressive organization and small-dollar fundraising in the last two cycles. Centrists used the OH-11 special election between Nina Turner and Shontel Brown to pioneer waiting until late in the race and then dropping enormous amounts of outside money through pro-Israel Pacs like Democratic Majority for Israel and Aipac to overwhelm progressives and leave them unable to counter. This strategy was used again to rapidly close an enormous lead in PA-12, but progressives were just able to pull out a win for candidate Summer Lee. As of this writing, the TX-28 race between progressive Jessica Cisneros and the conservative incumbent Henry Cuellar remains too close to call.

The commonality across Democratic primaries is that voters value loyalty. DMFI and Aipac’s ads do not ever mention Israel. They savage progressive candidates for alleged disloyalty to the party and its agenda (ironically given Aipac’s endorsement of more than 100 Republican lawmakers who supported overturning the 2020 verkiesing).

Progressive wins, egter, have used the same attack. Despite unitary control of government, the Democratic party has no legislative accomplishments of note. Democratic voters understand that this is due primarily to the intransigence of specific lawmakers. The Pennsylvania Senate nominee John Fetterman hammered opponent Conor Lamb on ending the filibuster and his votes against the party’s agenda. The No Labels “unbreakable nine” who stymied Biden’s Build Back Better agenda have been bleeding out, with Kurt Schrader and Carolyn Bourdeaux losing by large margins and Henry Cuellar in serious danger. Democratic voters want more than anything a functional governing majority that is able to deliver clear results.

Across both parties, it’s clear that voters value candidates they believe will govern and deliver on their priorities, far more than endorsements. Democrats who have endorsements from Joe Biden or Nancy Pelosi but spent the past two years stymying their agenda will be punished, terwyl Republikeine that deliver wins will be rewarded even if they anger Donald Trump.

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