Wednesday, July 28, 2021


Is Donald Trump losing his grip on the GOP?
Voters in North Texas delivered an upset Tuesday, picking GOP state Rep. Jake Ellzey to fill a vacant House seat over a candidate endorsed by former President Donald Trump.

Ellzey beat fellow Republican Susan Wright, the widow of former Rep. Ron Wright, 53 percent to 47 percent, when the Associated Press called the low-turnout, Republican-vs.-Republican runoff. Though Ellzey was better funded, Wright leaned heavily on her backing from the former president, who often plays kingmaker in Republican primaries.

Trump crashed into the race during the first round of voting in May, tapping Wright out of a crowded all-party primary and turning the contest into an early test of his post-presidency clout. He held two tele-town halls for her and taped a robocall for her, making the loss more painful.
So is it possible that Trump won't be able to take down Liz Cheney, Adam Kinzinger, Brian Kemp, and other Republicans who opposed his efforts to steal the 2020 election? Is it possible that Mike Pence could beat Trump in the 2024 primaries?

I wouldn't go that far. Trump endorsed Susan Wright in this race, but he didn't hate Jake Ellzey. He didn't give Ellzey a demeaning nickname. He didn't accuse Ellzey of betraying Our Great Country (i.e., himself). He didn't inspire his followers to hate Ellzey, either.

I don't know why Trump's people encouraged him to issue endorsements in elections that he doesn't care about and that aren't relevant to any of his grievances. I guess the point was to show that he remains politically relevant. But a loss like this just make him look weak.

He isn't weak -- or at least he won't appear to be weak when he's on the campaign trail bashing Cheney and Kinzinger and the others who ratified the real election results in 2020. That recent poll of Republicans that shows Cheney with a disapproval rating 43 points higher than her approval rating is all the proof you need that Republican voters still hate the people Trump hates. So is Fox News's portrayal of the Capitol Police officers who testified at yesterday's January 6 committee hearing as whining crybabies.

When Trump returns to his sweet spot -- rage -- he'll be able decide elections again, or at least he'll be able to determine who loses them. Races like this Texas special election aren't good for his brand.

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