Ohio and Indiana Primary Results Show President Trump's Influence Is Huge but the Real Test Awaits Him in Georgia

Ohio and Indiana Primary Results Show President Trump's Influence Is Huge but the Real Test Awaits Him in Georgia
AP Photo/Joe Maiorana

Tuesday, Ohio and Indiana held primary elections for the 2022 elections.

Even though President Trump’s name was not on the ballot, he might as well have been running. For months, the liberal media has been debating President Trump’s influence within the GOP. As an aside, I always find this collective examination of dingleberries by the media hilarious, since most of them consider Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger as conservative leaders.

The initial clue was available to the media in the fate of the 10 quislings who voted to impeach President Trump in the ludicrous self-beclowning Congress imposed upon itself after the January 6 so-call “insurrection” at the US Capitol, where the only casualties were a USAF veteran executed in cold blood by a Capitol Police officer, and Roseanne Boyland, who was clubbed while on the ground by members of that same police force.

Four of those 10 have resigned or retired. The remainder face strong primary challenges.

President Trump went 20 for 20 in his endorsements, when the smoke cleared last night.



Here are my takeaways about what President Trump showed last night.

He’s willing to take a risk, but he’s not suicidal.

In April, President Trump took a big risk by endorsing J. D. Vance for the US Senate. At the time, Vance was a distant third place and barely out of single digits in a field of five candidates. The safe bet for him would have been establishment favorite, Josh Mandel.

Vance was the lead vote-getter in the race. His support was broad enough that the race was called before 9 p.m. Read more at Donald Trump Scores Big Victory in Ohio After Senate Primary Is Called.

[Full disclosure, Vance was my personal favorite because he had a choice of being very popular on the leftwing cocktail and lecture circuit by mocking, demeaning, and belittling the people he wrote about in Hillbilly Elegy; he didn’t, and he paid a financial price for his decision.]

By the same token, President Trump does not get Christmas cards from Ohio Governor Mike DeWine. I’m sure President Trump would have loved to see Jim Renacci kick DeWine’s butt. However, he didn’t wade into the race. This year, many of President Trump’s endorsements have been marred by crappy staff work and bad advice; by steering clear of the Ohio governor’s race, President Trump showed the discipline he needs to exhibit to protect his brand and maximize his impact on House and Senate primary races.

Voting for impeachment was popular in the New York Times, not so much back home.

President Trump had endorsed Mike Miller to take on quisling Anthony Gonzalez in OH-7 before Gonzalez discovered the better part of valor. Miller won with 72% of the vote. The second-place finisher, Jonah Schultz, seemed to have run to Miller’s right.

President Trump’s impact is real.

Not only did President Trump run the board with his endorsements, but so did his policies. The candidates endorsed by President Trump, for the most part, didn’t face the kind of go-along-get-along, country club types that have crippled the GOP for years. For the most part, they were at least as pro-Trump as the person President Trump endorsed. So, the idea that there is some “middle” route to victory, even in a crowded field, is questionable. Politico looked at this specific issue in the Ohio Senate primary.

The best case for a Republican presidential candidate not attached at the hip to Trump in 2024 is that Trump doesn’t run, and that a massive field of Trumps-in-waiting cannibalize one another, leaving a lane open for a more traditionalist Republican.

That scenario got its first real test in Ohio on Tuesday, and for the establishment, the results weren’t promising.

With Vance, Mandel, Timken and Gibbons clobbering each other over who was the Trumpiest, Dolan, who distanced himself from Trump, appeared to have space open to him with a non-MAGA hardliner crowd.

Trump’s influence is put to test in Ohio primary

Only it wasn’t big enough. A state senator who spent more than $10 million of his own money on the race, Dolan rejected Trump’s lie that the 2020 election was stolen and, unlike his competitors, said it was time for Trump to stop talking about 2020. He got a late jolt of momentum in the primary as a result, jumping up in public polling.

But he didn’t win. Or even come close. With 96 percent of the expected vote in, Dolan was running third, behind Vance and Mandel, pulling about 23 percent of the vote. That’s a low ceiling for a centrist Republican in 2024.

The left is still huffing “cope-ium” nearly two years after the 2020 election.

If you want a quick hit of cry-and-cope, all you have to do is take a glance at the Washington Post. The Post found evidence that the voters had renounced President Trump, and all of his works and empty promises.

Consider that Vance won the primary by seven percentage points, with 81 percent of precincts reporting. That means 69 percent of Ohio Republicans voted for someone else, despite Trump (and, separately, one of his sons) flying in to stump for Vance in the final days.

Consider, too, that the Republican who gave Vance his biggest scare as the race closed was the only candidate who didn’t bend the knee for Trump. State Sen. Matt Dolan, whose billionaire family owns the Cleveland Guardians baseball team, surged late by appealing to moderates and traditional conservatives who are exhausted by Trump and his antics. He came in third.

The real lesson is that the third-place guy got 24% of the vote. The remainder of the field all campaigned on how they were Trump allies. The correct way to view the outcome is that 76% of the voters were aligned with President Trump, no matter which candidate they supported.

Any questions about the depth and breadth of President Trump’s influence on Republican politics should be largely dispelled after last night. There probably hasn’t been a figure in the GOP who had the stature of President Trump since Ronaldus Magnus. Ohio and Indiana were warmup rounds. The May 24 primary in Georgia, where President Trump has endorsed seven challengers, and pitted himself against an incumbent governor and secretary of state (I’m sort of agnostic on the Kemp-Perdue fight, but Raffensperger should be horsewhipped for his gutlessness during the 2020 election.)

While the Ohio and Indiana primaries were a good preview of President Trump’s influence, Georgia will be the test by fire.

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