Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Trump's Endorsed Gubernatorial Candidate Falls Short in Nebraska

A week ago, former President Trump's endorsement of J.D. Vance pushed the Hillbilly Elegy author over the finish line in first place.  For the "Glass is Half Full" anti-Trumper crowd, many of whom work at the highly regarded Bulwark, that was conclusive evidence of Trump's stranglehold over the Republican Party.

Charles Herbster
But wait.  Vance received just 32.2% of the Republican vote.  More than 2 out of 3 Ohio Republicans heard Trump's endorsement and voted for someone else.  Plus, the number of actual voters in a Republican primary is a tiny fraction of the electorate, and doesn't include many conservatives, who choose not to participate in the GOP primary but will be voting in the general election.

I am highly skeptical of the Bulwark consensus that Donald Trump is the unquestioned GOP kingmaker. The results of yesterday's Nebraska primary confirmed my doubts about Trump's influence in the party.

Trump's enthusiastic endorsement of Charles Herbster netted the businessman only 30% of the vote in the Nebraska gubernatorial race.  Trump had even held a big rally in the state to push Herbster to victory.  But it didn't work.  Nebraska Republicans heard Trump loud and clear and instead voted for University of Nebraska regent Jim Pillen who was endorsed by outgoing Gov. Pete Rickets.  

Trump though had better luck with a congressional endorsement in West Virginia.  But the Nebraska governor's race was the big contest of the evening and Trump clearly lost that race

At the end of the primary season, Trump's endorsees are likely to win some races and lose others.  It appears that the former President is only able to move a small percentage of Republican voters with his support, but in many races that may be just enough to put the GOP candidate over the line.

I'm less worried about Trump's role in endorsing GOP midterm candidates than I am about Trumpism's influence on my Republican Party. Trumpism has clearly outgrown Trump.  Dr. Frankenstein (Trump) created a monster.  I'm not worried about the doctor.  I'm worried about the monster.

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