So now that he isn't in office, how will Trump affect the 2022 midterm election? Let's take a look shall we?
First, yes, it's been a while. Sometimes I get busy with actual work, and well, I've been awfully busy lately. The number one question you folks have written in and asked about is sometimes phrased differently, but all of your questions are some version of this:
Now that Trump's not in office, what will his affect be on the midterm elections?
My first answer would be that while we can safely say he'll have an effect, we just don't know how much or exactly how yet. As I was getting these types of questions, Trump himself was busy throwing his weight into a lot of key Republican primaries across the country. Honestly I hadn't thought a ton about it until a September article in Politico mentioning Trump had made close to 40 endorsements in 23 states. Around that same time, can't remember if it was before or after, Liz Cheney decided to do something I never recommend, she poked the bear...the BIG one.
Now, I don't have a dog in the fight, (I've actually met the entire Cheney family between the campaign trail and conventions at one point or another) but as I do with this site, I was quite curious and wanted an informed answer. Basically, I wanted to know who would win in a fight between Liz Cheney and Donald Trump, and what would happen if Trump indeed "brought it."
So after Thanksgiving, I finally got around to answering that question for myself and those of you who asked. And you want to know what happens when Trump "brings it?"
Candidates like Liz Cheney lose, and folks, They. Lose. BIG!
I polled Wyoming and asked voters there who they liked. It wasn't close (hint: it was Trump). Then I picked two more states with a Republican member of Congress who voted to impeach Trump to poll and guess what? Voters in those districts also preferred Trump....by a wide margin. Then for the heck of it, I looked at two more deep red races in different states, to see if there was any difference in a race where where Trump had not weighed in yet. Those voters liked Trump too.
Now, I don't want to bore you all with poll numbers and nerd stuff but for those of you who do like that, I actually wrote up a memo which is attached that you can read and ask questions about. So here's a quick rundown of what I took away.
Republicans still LOVE Trump.
Republicans would still vote for TRUMP.
Republicans wouldn't just vote for Trump, they'd also vote for the candidate (in just about any race) that he endorses.
You know how they say it's better sometimes to be a Kingmaker than a King? Well, my takeaway, Trump is the King of Kingmakers.
Basically, I asked Republicans in five different red Republican Congressional Districts what they thought about Trump now, whether or not they'd nominate him again in 2024, and whether or not they'd support candidates that Trump endorses against other Republican candidates...like Liz Cheney. Here is the quick review.
In two races where Trump endorsed a candidate against a sitting member of Congress who voted to impeach him, his candidate was leading the sitting member by more than 2-1.
- Trump's candidate against Cheney, Harriet Hageman, sat at near 40% of the vote with primary voters while Cheney was below 20%. Yikes.
- Trump's candidate in Washington's 3rd Congressional, Joe Kent, was doing near the same against Jaime Herrera Beutler. Kent led Beutler by more than ten points and sat at 40.92% of the vote. (Note: Washington is a "nonpartisan primary where the top two advance, regardless of party, but is is also a safe red seat)
In another race where a sitting member voted to impeach, South Carolina's Tom Rice didn't look any better than Herrera Beutler or Cheney. Rice was under 20% on the ballot and was tied with a Republican challenger who didn't even have a Trump endorsement, Graham Allen.
In the two states (Florida's 7th CD and Georgia's 10th) where we didn't have one (a Trump impeacher) or the other (a Trump endorsed candidate), from what I can tell, the most verbal Trump touting Republican led a field of less verbal Trump loving candidates behind them, and by a good sized margin!
Now, notice I said "VERBAL Trump touting Republican." That is because in those two other states, the leading candidates weren't the ONLY ones touting Trump, they just appear to be the the most VOCAL supporters currently. And that says something folks. It says, if you want to win your Republican primary election, then go to a mountaintop and cry as loud as you can, "I love Trump."
If these five districts are any indication (and I think they are) then the way to win a Republican party is still to run towards Trump. While that may win you a primary, it remains to be seen whether it can win a general election (stay tuned for my next project). Still the bottom line from my polling was that in Deep Red Districts, Republicans are likely to end up with more candidates that the media loves to hate. It's almost unavoidable.
With that said, here is the answer to that question you keep asking me.
"So, how much of an influence will Trump be on the 2022 midterm elections?"
A Potentially MASSIVE One. Trump will be as much of a kingmaker as he wants to be in 2022 and probably beyond.
From over 2,700 surveys in five states, here is some raw data from Republicans (note: raw simply means it's a collaboration of responses from "Republicans." this means it is not "weighted" or "calculated." In other words, it's simply the first 2,700 Republicans who answered the phone regardless of their age or gender)
- Trump had over an approval rating over 73%, and in only one one state, Wyoming, was it under 70%. Even there he was still favorable there with 63.57%.
- When asked if they'd vote for a Trump endorsed candidate, a different candidate, or if they'd need to think about it, over 60% said they would vote for the Trump endorsed candidate.
- In the 3 states with a Republican who voted for Trump, 60% or more of Republicans said they wouldn't vote for a candidate who voted to impeach Trump. Each of the three of the sitting members who did was well on the way to a substantial election defeat.
- When asked if they preferred Trump or another candidate in 2024, over 55% of Republicans said they would vote for Trump over another Republican candidate.
- Finally.....more than 45% of Republicans I surveyed said that Voter Fraud....DEFINITELY cost Trump the 2024 election. (they clearly didn't agree with my post on voter fraud from September.
That is some crazy data folks, and way more Trumpian than I expected to find. Prior to Trump, candidates like Cheney were generally able to survive the wrath of grassroots conservatives who didn't like the way they voted. You could have a bad vote or be in trouble with conservatives but still win on your name recognition or your legacy. But 2022 might be the year we see that it's no longer possible.
I don't have a dog in any of these fights. But if you're a betting man or woman, I'd bet a lot on Cheney losing. A lot can change between now and an election, but if it can happen in Wyoming, where the Cheney family is a legacy, it can happen pretty much anywhere.
You've all now safely been warned, and I've now safely been schooled. 2022 is not a good year to mess with Trump.
As always, if you have questions about this post, or a lingering political question that you would like answered, there's a big fat question box at the bottom of every page where you can ask it, and I'll get your question emailed to me.