Trump leaves behind diminished GOP power centers

Three of the big power centers that drove the GOP’s last successful midterm campaign are no longer the same forces in party politics now, with Republicans out of the White House and in the minority in both chambers of Congress. The Koch network of megadonors and big-spending outside groups has stepped back its partisan political campaigning, while the U.S. Chamber of Commerce not only shrunk its spending but made a bipartisan shift. Others, like the National Rifle Association, has been consumed by internal strife. The advocacy group announced last week it would be filing for bankruptcy…

Top Republicans expect the GOP’s minority status to drive innovation and sprout new groups, but they begin 2021 with fewer options than last time the party faced the political wilderness.

“Looking back at the 2010 cycle, there was a flurry of outside groups that came onto the scene. That’s simply not the case now. Fundraising, campaign organizations and outside groups have evolved significantly,” said Ken Spain, who served as the National Republican Congressional Committee spokesman in 2010, when Republicans retook the House majority. “As the tectonic plates shifted within the Republican Party, the broader campaign apparatus atrophied, and that includes some groups pulling back or going by the wayside altogether.”