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Voters do real damage to Trump’s message on his endorsement power

“I don’t say this in a braggadocious way, but if they don’t get the endorsement, they don’t win,” Donald Trump boasted last year. Yeah, about that...


As recently as Monday, Donald Trump’s team was still bragging about the potency of the former president’s endorsement. One of the Republican’s spokespersons told The New York Times, “The reality is, President Trump is already 82-3 with his endorsements, and there’s nothing stopping him from saving America in 2022 and beyond.”

The use of the word “reality” was problematic. Trump has padded his win-loss record with support for GOP incumbents facing little-to-no opposition, creating an exaggerated picture.

Regardless, as the dust settles on yesterday’s primaries, the former president’s boasts suddenly look a little worse. NBC News reported:

It was the night the lights went out in Georgia for Team Trump. Former President Donald Trump’s favorites were dismissed up and down the ballot Tuesday, as Republican voters handed him a book-end rebuke to his 2020 re-election bid loss in the state.

Clearly, yesterday’s marquee contest was the state’s GOP gubernatorial primary, which was humiliating for the former president: Trump, consumed with contempt for Gov. Brian Kemp for his failure to go along with a 2020 coup scheme, went all out to boost former Sen. David Perdue — who lost by 50 points.

But that’s really just the start:

  • In Georgia’s secretary of state race, Trump was desperate to bring down Brad Raffensperger, but the incumbent defeated a sitting GOP congressman, Jody Hice, by nearly 20 points.
  • In Georgia’s attorney general race, Trump backed John Gordon over incumbent Chris Carr, which turned into a lopsided affair: Carr won his primary by nearly 48 points.
  • In Georgia’s insurance commissioner race, Trump backed Patrick Witt against the Kemp-appointed John King, and it too was a blowout: King won by roughly 54 points.

The results matter, but note the margins: These were not competitive contests. Trump backed a group of Republicans, and in lopsided affairs, GOP voters in Georgia ignored him.

Even in congressional primaries, the former president backed a pair of contenders — Vernon Jones and Jake Evans — who managed to advance to runoff elections, but ran second in their respective races.

A Politico report added, “It’s almost impossible to overstate how bad Georgia was for Donald Trump.”

Remember, this wasn’t just a matter of personalities: Trump specifically chose candidates based on their record and position on his Big Lie. Voters from his own party, however, just didn’t care.

All of this, of course, comes on the heels of related defeats for Trump-backed candidates in Nebraska’s gubernatorial race, Idaho’s gubernatorial race, and a North Carolina congressional primary.

Earlier this year, the former president said his endorsement “is considered by the real pollsters to be the strongest endorsement in U.S. political history.” He added that his record is “almost unblemished.”

Yeah, almost.

As for why this matters, let’s circle back to our coverage from last week and consider the larger context. As regular readers know, for Trump, the power of his endorsement is supposed to be — indeed, it must be — the stuff of legend. Last summer, he commented on the Republicans who beg for in-person meetings, where they plead for his electoral support, marveling at his self-professed power.

“We have had so many, and so many are coming in,” Trump said. “It’s been pretty amazing. You see the numbers. They need the endorsement. I don’t say this in a braggadocious way, but if they don’t get the endorsement, they don’t win.”

Except, as we were reminded again this week, that’s not true — which should send a message to Republicans everywhere about the need, or lack thereof, to kiss the former president’s ring.