Trump’s Stooges Were a Force in GOP Primaries Nationwide, But Many Fell Short

Another round of Republican primaries is overThis time, it was in California, Iowa and Mississippi, Montana. These states had dozens of local and state races. Many were taken by known incumbents to the surprise of none, but the Trumpist hordes made their presence known as the “Race to Disgrace” continues apace. Trump’s candidates may not have achieved all they sought, but they left footprints all over the map. Not all final results are available at the time of writing.

The January 6 committee hearings are fast approaching, and many of the 35 Republicans that voted to approve it and its investigation were put under fire for their support. Mississippi Rep. Michael Guest, who voted in favor of the commission, is currently trailing Michael Cassidy, his opponent, and neither seems close to achieving the 50% needed to avoid a second round. South Dakota’s Rep. Rusty JohnsonAnother Republican supporter for the commissionHe barely beat Taffy Howard in the race, but he did not break 60 percent.

This issue will be a major issue for GOP primary voters, but it won’t be the only one. Last month in West Virginia, Rep. David B. McKinley was defeated by Alex Mooney after Mooney attacked McKinley for supporting President Biden’s infrastructure bill. Republicans are still at risk from even the smallest deviation from pure purity, regardless of how small or necessary.

Thanks to population growth, Montana has a new seat. Former Trump Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is running. Many assumed it would be his in the walk, but the race is too close to call after his opponents spent the campaign highlighting all the ethics scandals Zinke was involved in at Interior. One of his opponents, Al “Doc” Olszewski, smeared Zinke as a “liberal insider,” which pretty much tells you all you need to know about the current ideological state of the GOP.

It wasn’t all Trumpian nonsense. An attempt to stop Medicaid expansion in South Dakota was defeated soundly. As of this morning, the expansion was leading by a margin 67 to 33. If these numbers hold, South Dakota would be the 39th state to expand Medicare.

It is where it is WasTrump, however, said that it was All Trump… and as of this writing, being on Trump’s shit list did far less damage than some anticipated. Sen. John Thune, who has been despised by Trump ever since Thune said Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election would “go down like a shot dog,” easily crushed his opposition in South Dakota.

“In Iowa, Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks ran unopposed,” reports Politico. “And in New Jersey, where Trump once sought to encourage a primary challenge to Rep. Chris Smith, the veteran incumbent beat back a challenge from Mike Crispi, a Republican podcast host backed by Roger Stone. (One inspired headline from the state on Tuesday night read in part, ‘Crispi creamed by Smith.’)”

Although none of this is definitive, it seems that each primary Tuesday seems to confirm the feeling that Trump’s bucking is not the fatal act it was once thought to be. While no one is remotely ready to declare Trump “over”he retains a huge campaign war chest and remains the GOP frontrunner for the ’24 nomination, though Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis making a caseTrump may like it or not, to be heir apparentA Republican candidate can still run for office, but it is not necessarily a sign of doom. The pro-Trump candidates will continue to try and succeed in many places.

The failure of some of these pro-Trump candidates is a boon for those who enjoy a good dose of schadenfreude at the former president’s expense. However, these failures can be a serious problem for congressional Democrats in the long-term. Numerous analysts have already predicted a red wave in November, and a massive Democratic wipeout. One of the only things that may save the Democrats from this fate is if GOP primary voters select a slate of wild-eyed, can’t-win candidates backed by Trump. This has not happened yet, leaving Democrats with a group of much stronger opponents.

Yet, the seeds for mayhem remain deep beneath. If history is any indication, Trump will not tolerate the good numbers DeSantis has been showing. This makes for one flashpoint. Word out of Mar-a-Lago says Trump is “bored” and may announce his 2024 candidacy as soon as July 4. A number of his advisers are apparently begging him to hold off until the midterms are over, but Trump is Trump, and there are others in his ear whispering, “Now, boss, now.”

Trump will announce if he does. This will bring him back to the center of conversation and have a dynamic impact on many of the upcoming primary races. Although he may not be the same person he was in the Republican Party, a bull in a china shop can still break some plates.