Former President Trump’s candidacy could immediately jeopardize both the presidential election and control of Congress for Republicans, based on exit polls and midterm results.
- Why is it important: Republicans will face continued pressure to nominate fringe candidates in primaries, continuing to cost GOP Senate
What happens: Trump is a double-edged sword, Axios’ Josh Kraushaar writes.
- Trump juices turnout massively on the GOP side – but is an epic Democratic turnout machine.
- And he’s a turnoff for independent voters who, against all expectations, supported the Democrats in this year’s midterm elections.
Look at the electoral map in 2024.
- The Republicans have a big opening to win back the Senate – Dems hold 23 of the 33 Senate seats in 2024. But the GOP needs electable nominees in the swing states.
- This choice showed that Trump and Trump-like candidates are turning off independent voters in eminently winnable places.
What we see: When Trump runs, the pressure to support him in primaries—or see the consequences—will be intense and omnipresent.
- Given the dominance of activists in primaries, there is a good chance for more Dr. Oz-like candidates.
What we hear: Republican operatives fear that Trump is so damaged with the constituency that he could lose to a Democrat — even during a recession.
- Another fear GOP operatives have: If Trump loses the primary, he can sabotage the winner either by running as a third-party candidate — or relentlessly dump the winning nominee and turn off his voters.
Zoom in: In ’24, Democrats will defend 23 of the 33 Senate seats up for grabs. Keeping these Democratic seats will mean winning in a number of red and purple states:
- Arizona, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
What’s next: Waiting in the wings is a bunch of MAGA-aligned candidates who could fight with independent voters.
- Rep. Alex Mooney, a hardline conservative, is challenging Senator Joe Manchin. West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey is also expected to run after losing to Manchin in his last election.
- In Arizona, Freedom Caucus Leader Rep. Andy Biggs is often touted as a potential candidate. His far right stance is reminiscent of the two losing Arizona GOP nominees in 2022 – Kari Lake and Blake Masters.