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Divided We Stand

Divided We Stand
New book about the 2020 election.

Friday, January 5, 2024

"They Always Bend the Knee" -- Trump's Endorsement Primary

Our latest book is titled Divided We Stand: The 2020 Elections and American Politics.  The 2024 race has begun.

Jonathan Swan, Shane Goldmacher and Maggie Haberman at NYT:

Today, three years after Jan. 6 and more than a week before the Iowa caucuses, Mr. Trump has almost entirely subjugated the elected class of the Republican Party. As of this week, every member of the House Republican leadership is formally backing his campaign to recapture the White House.

Mr. Trump has obsessed over his scorecard of endorsers, according to more than half a dozen Trump advisers and people in regular contact with him, most of whom insisted on anonymity to describe private conversations.


He sees gathering the formal endorsements as a public validation of his triumphant return that serves his strategy of portraying himself as the inevitable victor. He calls endorsements the “E word”; when lawmakers merely say they “support” him, he considers it insufficient and calls that the “S word.” In recent weeks, his allies have told lawmakers that Mr. Trump will be closely watching who has and hasn’t endorsed him before the Iowa caucuses on Jan. 15.

Mr. Trump works his endorsements through both fear and favor, happily cajoling fellow politicians by phone while firing off ominous social media posts about those who don’t fall in line quickly enough. In October, he felled a top candidate for House speaker, Representative Tom Emmer, by posting that voting for him “would be a tragic mistake!” On Wednesday, Mr. Emmer capitulated and endorsed him.

“They always bend the knee,” Mr. Trump said privately of Mr. Emmer’s endorsement, according to a person who spoke to him.
And Mr. Trump is privately ranting about and workshopping nicknames for other holdouts, like Senator Ted Cruz of Texas.

“Ted — he shouldn’t even exist,” Mr. Trump said recently of Mr. Cruz, a 2016 rival, according to a person who heard the remarks and recounted them soon after. “I could’ve destroyed him. I kind of did destroy him in 2016, if you think about it. But then I let him live.”