Does Trump still have the juice? His patchy approval record suggests a decline

When you read all the kissing and bootlicking going on these days at Trump’s resort town of Mar-a-Lago, it’s clear that Republicans on all sides see him as the president-in-exile, our former and future dear leader. He is believed to be so powerful that his endorsement will make or break any candidate, from the highest seat of power in the US Senate to a lowly poll clerk in a small jurisdiction in the real America. The big question facing the GOP now is whether or not this is actually true. And new reports from across the country suggest that may not be as clear cut as many think.

The New York Times’ Shane Goldmacher called Trump a “modern-day party leader” and quotes insiders comparing his “Mar-a-Lago Machine” to the famous Tammany Hall, which dominated New York politics for centuries . Naturally, Trump is personally making money out of it and he’s not the only one:

A whole political economy now surrounds Mr. Trump, with Trump properties reaping huge fees: Federal candidates and committees alone have paid nearly $1.3 million to hold events at Mar-a-Lago, according to the archives. A phalanx of Trump whisperers has emerged with candidates paying them in hopes of lining up meetings, making sure he sees damaging research on their rivals or strategically slipping him a survey showing rising polls, even as Trump alumni warn he’s still a buyer – Beware of Trump’s influence game.

Goldmacher points out, however, that while Tammany Hall has maintained his grip on power by handing out patronage, Trump is not spending much of his massive war chest at all. One of his spokespersons, Taylor Budowich, explained that the advantage of Trump’s support is not in the money, but in the fact that voters value his approval and that he generates a lot of “free media “. We’ll soon find out that it’s as precious as people think, but in the meantime there’s apparently a long line of supplicants night after night seeking his favor, and he’s reveling in it.

There would be certain protocols to get Trump’s attention and impress him. I think we all know how much he loves flattery and how much he asks his followers to love who he loves and hate who he hates. But that’s not enough, according to Goldmacher. “He also likes compelling visual materials. Big fonts are crucial. With photos and graphics. In color.”

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There is no system by which Trump makes his midterm endorsements. Mostly, it seems to be based on a mixture of his intuition, his desire to punish anyone who displeases him by supporting his opponents, rewarding those who push The Big Lie most ardently, and a desire to place sycophants and true believers in a position power to influence the outcome of the elections. Goldmacher writes:

As corrupt Tammany boss Tweed said as he leaned on a ballot box in a famous 1870s cartoon: “As long as I’m counting the votes, what are you going to do about it?” Or, as Mr. Trump told Breitbart News this month, “there is an expression that the vote counters are more important than the candidate, and you can use that expression here.”

A few months ago Salon’s Igor Derysh reported that there were over 80 pro-Trump 2020 deniers running for office across the country and there is no doubt now. It may be that those lower-level endorsements end up being far more important than his support for slavish House and Senate candidates.

The question in all of this is whether he still has the juice to secure his nominees’ nomination let alone win in the fall. So far, it doesn’t seem like a slam dunk, especially in the primaries.

There is no system by which Trump makes his midterm endorsements.

Many eyes are on Georgia as a microcosm of the “Mar-a-Lago machine” in action, where Trump has waged a particularly ugly crusade against GOP Governor Brian Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Raffensberger, as well as anyone associated with them, endorsing their challengers and insisting that all GOP candidates vying for any office sign the Big Lie. So far, however, that doesn’t seem to be having much effect, with the incumbents still leading in the polls. Meanwhile, Trump’s hand-picked candidate to oppose Georgia Democratic Sen. Rafael Warnock, 1980s NFL star Herschell Walker, is also causing a lot of heartburn in the state. Walker dodges debate, proves extremely weak when it comes to politics, and faces numerous long-running personal scandals.

Endorsements based on Trump’s own personal vendettas against RINO incumbents or his belief that stardom of any kind is an automatic ticket to success in politics (because it worked for him) are also causing grief for Republicans in d other states.

His endorsement of Dr. Oz in Pennsylvania for the Senate seat vacated by Republican Pat Toomey would have caused an uproar in the state since they had what they saw as a strong candidate who thought he had Trump’s backing. . But Trump has capriciously endorsed Oz, an awkward political novice with no real connection to the state and who has a record of liberal commentary over the years that makes him anathema to this state’s hard-right. But Oz is a celebrity, who impresses Trump, and he was the one who made Trump a solid major in 2016 when he cast him on his show and validated his quack doctor’s assessment that Trump was in trouble. healthy. He’s spoken about it several times recently.

RELATED: Trump Fans Angered By His Endorsement Of Dr. Oz

Last week he endorsed JD Vance, the author of the book “Hillbilly Elegy” which I’m sure Trump has never heard of let alone read. What he read are accounts of Vance’s recent ostentatious adoration of Trump and decided to endorse him against the advice of just about everyone (except Don Jr and Sean Hannity who have it relentlessly pushed). In his statement of endorsement, he said he chose Vance because he could ‘win’, noting, “It’s not an easy endorsement for me because I love and respect some of the other people. candidates in the running – they said great things about ‘Trump’…”

The “Mar-a-lago Machine” might just turn out to be a wrecking crew.

And yes, he immediately endorsed former Republican vice-presidential candidate and reality TV star Sarah Palin, who is running for the seat opened by the death of Alaska Congressman Don Young. Of course he did.

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These are just a few of the gadflies, sycophants, con artists and celebrity crackpots he backs. Will all this activity reinforce his self-defined kingmaker characterization? Perhaps. The electoral ground for the Republicans looks very good for the fall. But Republicans are nervous. No less than Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said last week:

Atmospherically, this is a perfect storm of trouble for Democrats. How could you screw it all up? It is in fact possible. And we have experienced that in the past. In the Senate, if you look at where we have to compete for a majority, there are places that are competitive in the general election. So you can’t nominate someone who is somehow unacceptable to a larger group of people and win. We had this experience in 2010 and 2012

Indeed, they did. It seems Republican voters care less and less about these things, but in states where they need to attract non-Trumpers, the “Mar-a-Lago Machine” may prove to be a wrecking crew. Of course, if they can install the right “vote counters” in favor of Trump, it might not matter.

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