Sep 18, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Trump's 2024 triumph

States with at least one statewide GOP candidate who is a 2020 election denier
Data: Associated Press; Chart: Axios Visuals

Amid his legal peril, former President Trump emerges from the midterm primary season with two trophies that show the extent to which he has reshaped the Republican Party in his image — and toward his obsessions.

Driving the news: In 24 states, across the map, Republicans are fielding 2020 presidential election deniers as November standard-bearers for statewide office — governor, secretary of state or attorney general. These candidates — nearly 1 in 3 GOP statewide candidates, according to AP — backed Trump's push to overturn the election or spread lies about results.

  • In the 26 notable GOP primaries in which Trump made an endorsement, he went 21-5, according to a "Final Primary Report Card" by David Wasserman of The Cook Political Report with Amy Walter.

Why it matters: The implications for democracy in general, and the 2024 election in particular, are profound.

  • If Trump has foot soldiers administering elections in '24 battleground states, he'd have a distinct advantage in the general election, regardless of his Democratic opponent.

Between the lines: In the 26 Democratic primaries with an endorsement by Sen. Bernie Sanders, Sen. Elizabeth Warren or Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, those progressives went just 15-11, Wasserman found.

Reality check: Some Republicans are what Axios' Josh Kraushaar calls "pretenders" — they raised questions about the election to win the primary, but aren't hardcore denialists.

Most of the hardcore denialists are likely to lose in November, Kraushaar reports. A big exception is Kari Lake for Arizona governor.

  • These nominees' underdog status underscores the fact that GOP voters have gone MAGA — but fringe views don't sell outside the party's primaries.

Zoom in: The election-denial midterm caucus extends to congressional races.

  • Of 552 total Republican nominees, 201 (36%) fully denied the legitimacy of the 2020 election, FiveThirtyEight found. 61 more raised questions, bringing the percentage to 47% — roughly half.

The bottom line: 60% of U.S. voters will have an election denier on the ballot in November, per FiveThirtyEight.

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