How Donald Trump just keeps winning

Here's an amazing stat: In the last 14 contested Republican primaries where President Donald Trump has endor...

Posted: Aug 9, 2018 11:44 AM
Updated: Aug 9, 2018 11:44 AM

Here's an amazing stat: In the last 14 contested Republican primaries where President Donald Trump has endorsed a candidate, his pick has won -- or is leading -- all 14 times.

That's remarkable. (Hat tip to WaPo's James Hohmann for doing the math!) And it speaks to the fact that despite Trump's weak numbers among the general populace, he remains a massively powerful force within the GOP -- someone who can make and break candidacies with a single tweet.

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Take Tuesday night. Trump endorsed John James in Michigan's Republican Senate primary, Bill Schuette in the Michigan governor's race and Kris Kobach in the Kansas gubernatorial primary.

James, who had been considered an underdog prior to the Trump endorsement, won the right to face Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow. Schuette, the sitting attorney general, crushed the state's lieutenant governor and several other challengers for the right to take on Democratic former state Senate Majority Leader Gretchen Whitmer in the fall.

But Trump's biggest coup appears to be his endorsement of Kobach, the controversial secretary of state who currently holds a lead of fewer than 200 votes over appointed Gov. Jeff Colyer. (The race has not yet been called by CNN.) Kobach, who led Trump's short-lived commission to investigate electoral fraud, is a favorite of the state's Trump conservatives but viewed very, very suspiciously by the party's establishment. His victory, if it holds, would make the Kansas governor's race competitive.

Trump, never one to avoid the tooting of his own horn, tweeted this out on Wednesday morning: "5 for 5!" Presumably, that's a reference to Trump's endorsement record on Tuesday -- counting Troy Balderson's apparent win in the Ohio congressional special election and Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley's easy win in the state's Senate primary race alongside Kobach, Schuette and James.

In a subsequent tweet, Trump offered his conclusion based on Tuesday's results:

"As long as I campaign and/or support Senate and House candidates (within reason), they will win! I LOVE the people, & they certainly seem to like the job I'm doing. If I find the time, in between China, Iran, the Economy and much more, which I must, we will have a giant Red Wave!"

That's not exactly the right conclusion, based on Trump's results. More accurately, the first line of that tweet would read: "As long as I campaign and/or support Senate and House candidates (within reason), they will win primaries."

What Tuesday (re)proved is that Trump has tremendous power to move Republican voters behind his preferred candidate. Without the Trump endorsement, there is no way James is the Senate nominee in Michigan. And Kobach almost certainly comes up short without Trump. (Schuette and Hawley likely win without Trump, although perhaps not by the same wide margins.)

This should not be surprising -- as poll after poll has shown that Trump is among the most popular Republican presidents ever among Republicans. The latest Gallup weekly tracking poll showed that 89% of Republicans approved of the job he is doing. And that's in a poll in which Trump's overall approval among the broader electorate is just 41%!

Trump's takeover of the party is total. The Republican base is almost entirely aligned with him; those who cross Trump -- especially people in the GOP -- are made to feel the pain. (See: John McCain, Jeff Flake, Bob Corker.)

The problem that takeover creates for Republicans less interested in adherence to Trump than in making Republican majorities as large as possible is that the candidates the President favors are not always the candidates best positioned to win in the fall.

Take Kobach. He's a deeply controversial figure in Kansas and someone who lots and lots of dyed-in-the-wool Kansas Republicans just plain don't trust or like. If he unseats Colyer for the Republican nomination, the Sunflower State governor's race has at least the potential of becoming a Democratic pickup, due to unrest within the GOP directed toward Kobach. (Worth noting: Kansans elected and re-elected a Democratic governor in 2002 and 2006 in the form of Kathleen Sebelius.)

This is the Trump paradox for Republicans. Break with him and risk being on the wrong side of a primary loss. Stick with him and run the risk of being dragged down by his unpopularity with everyone outside of the Republican base.

Tuesday night affirmed that new reality for Republicans, and the near-impossibility of successfully navigating it.

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Confirmed Cases: 40163

Reported Deaths: 1528
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Hennepin12867789
Ramsey5066230
Dakota252494
Stearns244819
Anoka2328111
Nobles16766
Olmsted119617
Washington119040
Mower9722
Rice8628
Scott8034
Clay59838
Kandiyohi5841
Blue Earth5352
Wright5055
Carver4331
Todd4022
Sherburne3405
Lyon3312
Freeborn3020
Watonwan2420
Steele2401
Benton2283
St. Louis20316
Nicollet18712
Martin1715
Cottonwood1380
Goodhue1378
Winona13315
Le Sueur1171
Pine1110
Crow Wing10812
Chisago1031
Otter Tail1021
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Dodge930
Carlton890
Polk863
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Isanti780
Waseca730
Itasca6812
Douglas670
Murray670
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Morrison611
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Jackson570
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Swift251
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Wadena160
Aitkin150
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Pope120
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Clearwater100
Mahnomen101
Hubbard80
Stevens80
Lake60
Traverse60
Lac qui Parle40
Red Lake40
Kittson20
Cook10
Lake of the Woods00

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

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Confirmed Cases: 33162

Reported Deaths: 740
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Polk6990182
Woodbury328243
Black Hawk239759
Buena Vista172711
Johnson13848
Linn134183
Dallas133031
Marshall106819
Scott92610
Dubuque83422
Story8254
Pottawattamie78012
Wapello71231
Muscatine68344
Crawford6793
Sioux4930
Tama47829
Wright3891
Louisa36313
Plymouth3365
Jasper33217
Warren3001
Dickinson2853
Webster2844
Washington2489
Cerro Gordo2231
Hamilton1931
Boone1601
Clay1431
Clarke1403
Allamakee1354
Clinton1211
Mahaska11817
Shelby1180
Poweshiek1088
Carroll1041
Pocahontas1041
Bremer1027
Franklin990
Des Moines952
Emmet920
Henry903
Hardin880
Cedar851
Cherokee811
Taylor810
Monona770
Marion750
Floyd742
Benton721
Guthrie724
Jones680
Sac650
Osceola640
Iowa621
Jefferson620
Buchanan611
Butler602
Humboldt591
Calhoun582
Hancock571
Harrison560
Delaware541
Fayette540
Lee542
Madison512
Monroe517
Jackson480
Lyon480
Clayton473
Mills460
Palo Alto460
Mitchell430
Winneshiek430
Davis421
Grundy420
Kossuth390
Howard370
Union370
Lucas324
Winnebago310
Chickasaw290
Greene290
Cass270
Ida230
Unassigned220
Appanoose213
Van Buren210
Worth210
Keokuk201
Page200
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