According to a new report from National Journal, nowhere is the impact of Trump’s “destructive behavior” being felt more than the North Carolina Republican primary, as Trump’s surprise endorsement continues to devolve into a “nasty round of party infighting.”
Read more about the “GOP dilemma” playing out in North Carolina.
National Journal: Trump is sabotaging the GOP’s Senate prospects
- Former President Trump could have been an important asset for the GOP, turning out voters as it seeks to regain control of Congress in next year’s midterm elections. But, out of office, he’s continuing his destructive behavior, endorsing weaker candidates in contested primaries, squelching the campaigns of erstwhile allies, and elevating not-ready-for-prime-time contenders in must-win Senate contests.
- 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.
- At the least, Trump’s intervention is sparking a nasty round of party infighting, with McCrory suggesting former Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows, himself an ex-congressman from North Carolina, was responsible for orchestrating the endorsement decision. At worst, the elevation of a hard-right conservative lawmaker (one who signed an amicus brief on a lawsuit contesting the results of the 2020 presidential election) threatens to diminish the GOP’s prospects in a reddish state Republicans need to win to retake the majority.
- The North Carolina intervention is merely the latest sabotage from the former president threatening to upend the Senate landscape.
- Here’s the GOP dilemma: Republicans can’t win with Trump playing a central role in next year’s midterms, but they can’t win without him energizing the party base, either. Their strategy throughout the year was to keep Trump in the party tent, hoping to influence his behavior even if it meant indulging his worst excesses. But, so far, that plan isn’t working. Trump is more interested in reshaping the party in his own image than in helping the GOP win back control of Congress. If Republicans aren’t willing to fight for their own interests, they’ll end up surrendering not just to Trump, but to Democratic control of the Senate.