Our new book is titled Divided We Stand: The 2020 Elections and American Politics. Among other things, it discusses the state of the parties.
But now that he lacks tangible political power, he’s showing little willingness to play ball with party leadership. National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman Rick Scott made headlines in declaring that the party wouldn’t engage in competitive primaries, and he has said he hoped Trump would follow suit. But since then, Trump has picked his favorites with abandon, elevating a leading election denialist like Rep. Mo Brooks to front-runner status in Alabama, opposing party-backed Sen. Lisa Murkowski in Alaska, and urging a political novice like former NFL star Herschel Walker to run in a must-win Georgia contest.
Trump’s biggest impact has been in North Carolina, where he endorsed conservative Rep. Ted Budd at a state party dinner last Saturday over former Gov. Pat McCrory and former Rep. Mark Walker. (The endorsement came after his daughter-in-law, Lara Trump, declined to mount a bid of her own.) Before Trump’s endorsement, McCrory looked like the favorite to prevail, given his experience, higher name identification, and fundraising potential. But Trump turned that expectation upside down with his surprise endorsement of Budd.
Republicans are also watching the Missouri Senate race nervously. Scandal-plagued former governor Eric Greitens has already hired top Trump campaign official (and Don Jr. girlfriend) Kimberly Guilfoyle as his campaign chair. Missouri is a reliably Republican state, but Greitens’s baggage is so extensive that his nomination would potentially put the race in play.