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The Hill Publishes Wishful Thinking Piece About Trump’s ‘Declining’ Influence in GOP

AP Photo/Jason Behnken

In yet another example demonstrating how poorly the left understands the right, The Hill published a piece in which they wished stated that somehow, former President Donald Trump is losing power in the conservative movement. According to the authors, the loss of a candidate who he supported and the ongoing effort to reach a deal on infrastructure somehow means that Trump’s influence is on the decline.

The authors point out that Trump “received a blow to his endorsing power” when Susan Wright, the candidate he supported in a runoff election for Texas’ 6th Congressional District, lost to Jake Ellzey. They also argued that Senate Republicans’ decision to move forward with negotiations on the bipartisan infrastructure deal also dealt a blow to Trump’s influence. The authors reason that the continuing negotiations are hurting Trump because he vocally criticized the deal.

For some reason, the authors seem to believe that these two occurrences are examples of the Republicans snubbing the former president. They even got some on the right to support their argument.

Alex Conant, a Republican strategist, told The Hill that “Trump has not had a big win in quite a while,” and that “without wins, his political capital is depleted.”

Conant continued:

He is overexposed at the same time that he’s not getting enough attention. He’s giving lots of speeches and traveling the country, but other than his narrow base no one’s really paying attention and I think that limits his influence.

A former Trump White House official warned that Trump should be careful when endorsing candidates, especially this early in the process. This person explained that some of the former president’s allies are pushing him to “endorse early in competitive contests like the Ohio Senate race but that doing so could backfire.”

The article also notes that “some Republicans are already worried that could be the case in Georgia, where Trump has thrown his weight behind former NFL player Herschel Walker.”

Okay, they might have a point there. Endorsing Walker was a horrible idea.

Nevertheless, the authors’ contention that Trump’s influence is waning because of infrastructure and Susan Wright’s loss does not stand up to scrutiny. The former president still enjoys a tremendous level of support on the right. Indeed, even the authors acknowledged a poll revealing that 81 percent of Americans believe Trump should still have influence in the Republican Party.

As I wrote previously:

The survey showed that 47 percent of Republican participants indicated that Trump should possess “a lot” of influence over the party’s direction while about 34 percent felt he should have “a little” control over the GOP’s trajectory.

Moreover, I saw firsthand how enthusiastic the base is about Trump when I attended the Conservative Political Action Conferences in Orlando and Dallas. There is no way around it: The former president still holds sway over the right to a large degree. His authority is not likely to fade away anytime soon.

Still, it is appropriate to take this article as a cautionary piece, even though the authors did not mean it that way. Trump should be careful about who he endorses. Right now, he is a kingmaker, which is a role he seems to relish. But it is possible that he could lose a level of influence if he puts his brand of approval on people who aren’t winners. Indeed, Trump’s entire brand is the idea of “winning.”

The Susan Wright race shouldn’t be seen as a sign that Trump isn’t as influential as it seems. There are several different factors that led to her loss and not even the former president’s endorsement guarantees victory. But if current signs are an indicator, Trump is going to be essential to GOP victories in the upcoming midterm elections.

Even beyond that, Trump will likely be instrumental in the ousting of members of the Republican establishment if he is able to motivate his supporters to show up during the primaries. It’s a tall order because primary elections tend to have a low turnout. But if he can rally the troops, so to speak, he might just inspire enough conservatives to head to the polls during the primaries to get rid of the likes of Reps. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) and Liz Cheney (R-WY). Perhaps when enough of the establishment has been culled from the ranks, the GOP can finally rebrand itself in a way that allows it to make progress.