Trump endorsements stoke dissension in GOP ranks

To some Republicans, Trump’s efforts to take down GOP incumbents in federal and state races are at odds with the party’s interests in a midterm election where Republicans are within striking distance of recapturing control of Congress. While the party is focused on the November 2022 general election, Trump’s gaze is fixed on the primary election season that begins next spring.

“Donald Trump is continuing to add to the chaos in the Republican Party. It’s confusing the average Republican voter,” said Georgia GOP Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan, a Trump critic who is not running for reelection. “The only question that seems to matter when Trump is making his endorsements is: ‘Are you with us on the election conspiracy stuff?’ Not, ‘Do you believe in smaller government? Do you support law enforcement? Do you believe in lower regulations?’ Instead, it’s, ‘Are you with me?’”…

“Prior to 2015, there’s a good case to be made that the Beltway version of the Republican Party had been moving away from the base,” said Drew McKissick, the Trump-endorsed chair of the South Carolina GOP.

“What you saw in 2016 — with Trump beating 16 other qualified Republican candidates — was the rubber band snappin’ back. The base hadn’t moved. The Beltway had,” he said. “So there’s a continued ongoing reset; people are having to reorient themselves to where the base of the party actually is.”