It goes without saying that Donald Trump is the leader of the Republican Party. Going into the next election cycle, many GOP voters will be hinging their decisions on Trump’s coveted endorsement. This is overwhelmingly a good thing for the MAGA movement, but it comes with some downside.
No matter what anyone thinks of the Donald, most of us can agree that the man is very transactional. Those who are loyal to Trump will be treated well. Those who are not will be subject to his wrath. We’ve seen this time and again.
The good news is that this may help rid the party of some of its least desirable members. Presumably, Trump will endorse the primary opponents of Adam Kinzinger, Liz Cheney, and other never-Trump figures. The downside is that Trump may throw his support behind candidates who were nice to him, regardless of the quality of the candidate.
This has already happened on several occasions and is happening right now.
After the GOP ousted Liz Cheney from her leadership position, Trump backed NY Rep. Elise Stefanik over TX Rep. Chip Roy to fill Cheney’s previously held role. Roy has been a stalwart conservative as a member of Congress, most notably for his hardline stance on immigration.
Stefanik gained notoriety for defending Trump during his first impeachment, and she did so admirably. However, Stefanik is much more moderate, especially when it comes to immigration policy. She is known as more of a “Paul Ryan-type”, which is not great.
Going back to the 2020 election cycle, Trump backed several candidates for what seemed to be personal reasons. Senators Bill Haggerty (TN) and Tommy Tuberville (AL) are two prime examples. Haggerty served in Trump’s Administration, and got the endorsement over MAGA-friendly outsider Manny Sethi.
Tuberville got the nod over Jeff Sessions for obvious personal reasons. Sessions was one of the earliest supporters of the Trump agenda. For his support, Trump appointed Sessions to be his Attorney General. Once Sessions didn’t go to bat for Trump during the Russia fiasco, Trump took it personally. He endorsed Tuberville in the 2020 Senate race. Granted, Tommy Tuberville has turned out to be an above average Senator, but the point stands regarding Trump’s penchant for making things personal.
Currently, Trump is endorsing Greg Abbott for reelection as governor of Texas. Abbott has drawn several primary challengers. His critics have attacked him for bending the knee to corporate interests, including his vetoes of bills that would protect children from gender reassignment surgeries.
If you support Trump’s America First agenda, and want strong conservatives in leadership positions, you should take a Trump endorsement with a grain of salt. Trump kicked the tires on this movement, but the movement takes precedence over the man. Do your own research, take emotion out of it and support candidates who will legitimately fight for your interests.