The Trump dynamic, operatives said, could play out in very dramatic ways: While the party apparatus may subtly back certain candidates in key Senate primaries, Trump could weigh in to back candidates who have been openly loyal to him, creating a clear rift between party leaders and the former President.

“It is incredibly complicating,” said a top Republican who has worked on Senate races. “It was incredibly complicated over the last few years and we had at least a seat at the table. He has left the building, so any leverage that Senate Republicans possibly had that they could possibly utilize to get him on the same page are no longer options.”…

Whatley argued that the issue for Republicans is more about getting Trump’s base to turnout, not how involved the former President will be.

“We saw in 2018 a pretty big drop off in Republican turnout with Trump not being on the ticket and we had phenomenal turnout in 2020. So, we just need to make sure that we can convert those Trump voters into reliable voters,” he said. To Whatley, that means “there is always going to be a role for the (former) President just because he animates so much of the Republican base who loves him, and we saw that in North Carolina.”