While it’s still too close to call in Pennsylvania’s senate primary election, one thing is clear from last night’s election results: Donald Trump isn’t the kingmaker that the media has made him out to be.
There were some substantial losses for Trump last night, most notably in Idaho, where Trump’s endorsed candidate, Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin, lost by a wide margin to Gov. Brad Little. This followed last week’s loss in Nebraska, where Trump ally Charles Herbster lost, even though Trump flew out to the state to rally for him in the run-up to the election.
North Carolina’s primary was a bit of a mixed bag for Trump, with a strong finish for his pick of Rep. Ted Budd for Senate, but his endorsement of disgraced incumbent Rep. Madison Cawthorn failed to push Cawthorn to victory.
Most interestingly, in Pennsylvania, Trump’s pick of Dr. Oz seemed to point to a broader theme here, which is, once having normalized anti-establishment hate within a significant portion of the Republican base, can anyone really control them?
No one in Control
The Pennsylvania primary results lay bare the civil-war going on within the GOP in that you have Trump’s candidate, Dr. Oz, struggling to pull out a victory with just over 31% of the vote, an Ultra-MAGA ‘I’m Trumpier than Trump’ candidate Kathy Barnette pulling around 25% of the vote, and the more traditionally conservative (but still extreme) candidacy of Dave McCormick, a former executive at the world’s largest hedge fund, Bridgewater Associates, where he made a salary of $22.5 million in his final year. Dave is virtually tied with Dr. Oz at 31%.
Trump can no longer control the forces he put into motion and that leaves him and others in the GOP struggling to keep up. This was seen by Trump’s very late endorsement of Insurrectionist Doug Mastriano, who easily won the PA gubernatorial primary.
As Kathy Barnette, who campaigned with Mastriano, put it in a recent debate: “MAGA does not belong to President Trump. Our values never, never shifted to President Trump’s values. It was President Trump who shifted and aligned with our values.”
Having awoken the beast, Trump, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, and others in Republican leadership are trying to figure out who to follow, afraid to offend anyone –even white nationalists– while they wonder where their party is headed.