“The crackpot base that are Trump’s people, that are Trump’s wing men and wing women, will never leave him,” said Barrett Marson, a Republican political strategist in Arizona. But though “Trump still has a hold on the core base of Republicans,” Marson said, “In the larger Republican Party, that is not the case.”
Still, the most Trumpian, activist wing of the party controls many state and county party operations. And the once-fringe forces unleashed during the Trump era have metastasized within the party.
Millions of Republicans bought into Trump’s lie that the November election was stolen from him, with a large majority of Republicans saying after the election that they did not think it was free or fair. In Hawaii, a Republican Party official resigned recently after posting tweets sympathetic to subscribers to the QAnon conspiracy theory. The Texas Republican Party continues to use the “We are the storm” slogan, despite criticism about the phrase’s links to QAnon [The party has denied a connection].
Sean Walsh, a Republican strategist who worked in the Reagan and George H.W. Bush White Houses, suggested Trump’s pull on the party was so great that “you have to ease out of Donald Trump.”