There is little doubt that Donald Trump still holds great sway in the Republican Party. Given his tremendous success as president and the legions of voters he attracted to the GOP, there are many Republican candidates who covet Trump’s endorsement. They covet it with good reason. Trump’s endorsement has the power to raise marginal candidates to be viable and to give a candidate enough support to win in a tight race. Trump’s endorsed candidates have a remarkable record of winning, but there are a couple of facts to keep in mind with that record. First, Trump has many positive qualities, but they come with some deep personal flaws. He is as narcissistic as they come and he wants to win. This has led him to endorse several candidates who were already going to win handily. This character flaw has also led him to endorse losing candidates because of personal grudges (Georgia). It also leads him to sometimes endorse the candidate that he thinks is going to win instead of who might actually be the best person for the job.
This leads us to the second fact to bear in mind with Trump endorsements. Trump’s passion to win trumps any ideology. His endorsements do not necessarily mean that the endorsee is conservative. For example, Dr. Mehmet Oz has a long-standing history of supporting gun control and big government healthcare, but he squeaked out a win in Pennsylvania over a proven conservative after Trump endorsed him. These are issues that loom large in the next Congress and Oz may prove to be a bad apple in the barrel of conservative policy.
With all of that in mind, Trump’s endorsement still matters a great deal in a tightly contested primary race like in Wisconsin. The difference of a few thousand votes could make the difference. Remembering that the Republican primary voter is not the same demographic as a general election voter, the impact of the endorsement in Wisconsin is varied.
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