Feb 25, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Trump’s blunt weapon: State GOP leaders

Woman holding "Trump won" sign

Trump supporters rally near Mar-a-Lago on Feb. 15. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

President Trump didn't have to punish his critics in Congress — his allies back in the states instantly and eagerly did the dirty work.

Why it matters: Virtually every Republican who supported impeachment was censured back home, or threatened with a primary challenge.

  • Today through Sunday, many will make the trek to a sold-out CPAC ("America Uncanceled") in Orlando to kiss the ring — and trash the "traitors."

We're quickly seeing that Trump's true power source is in the states, powered by 2020 success.

  • Republicans picked up 14 House seats, including a dozen they lost two years earlier. They need +6 in 2022.
  • In 2021, Republicans will have full control of the legislative and executive branches in 24 states. Democrats will have full control of the legislative and executive branch in 15 states.
  • "Republicans hold total control of redistricting in 18 states, including Florida, North Carolina and Texas, which are growing in population and expected to gain seats after the 2020 census is tabulated," the N.Y. Times reports (subscription). "Some election experts believe the G.O.P. could retake the House in 2022 based solely on gains from newly drawn districts."
  • Democrats targeted nine states to flip control and failed in all.

The bottom line: Look at how the state parties are censuring anti-Trumpers. In the eyes of the base, the party thrived under Trump — and see anti-Trumpers as the reason the GOP didn't do even better.

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