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Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

President Trump's power over politics and the Republican Party is growing, with more GOP candidates adopting his tactics and relying on his seal of approval to win.

The big picture: For a party defined for a lifetime by cutting taxes and regulation, numerous GOP candidates are instead choosing to run ads on Trump topics like crime, gangs and illegal immigration.

  • Entire races — and states — are defined by Trump. In Georgia, Brian Kemp, a Trump clone who rants about fake media, immigrants and crime, crushed the establishment-backed Republican to win the GOP primary. Now, the Peach State will choose between Stacey Abrams, a liberal African American woman, and a conservative white man.
  • Trump-backed candidates have won nine of the last 10 contested races, including all primary races. National Journal’s Josh Kraushaar calls it a “golden touch,” magically turning long-shot hardliners into instant favorites.

The latest example of the Trump effect is in the GOP race for Florida governor:

  • Only last month, Adam Putnam — "Florida's agriculture commissioner and a genial conservative tabbed for political stardom since he won a state house seat at 22 — was ahead of Representative Ron DeSantis in fund-raising, local endorsements and opinion polls," the N.Y. Times' Jonathan Martin reports. "But then Mr. Trump bestowed his formal blessing on Mr. DeSantis for the Aug. 28 primary."
  • Now a Mason-Dixon poll has DeSantis 12 points ahead, a month before the primary.
  • YouTube of new DeSantis ad, which got a ton of play yesterday.

A source close to the president told me: "Trump loves nothing more than raw, power politics. He knows he's got unprecedented juice with the Republican base, so he's flexing his muscle, and having a blast doing it."

How Trump does it:

  • His sway often flows from fear: Fear that he will tweet against you and turn you into a soon-t0-be ex-congressman, like he did with Mark Sanford in South Carolina. Or fear his base will retaliate, unprompted. 
  • He has a powerful hold on his supporters' minds. A CBS News Battleground Tracker poll, conducted by YouGov and released Sunday, asked who you trust for accurate information. Among strong Trump supporters, the stunning result: Trump: 91% ... Friends & Family 63% ... Mainstream Media 11%.
  • He has redefined the social issues that animate the Republican base from religious-rooted moral issues (abortion, gay marriage and "family values") to cultural issues rooted in class and race (immigration, crime and trade).
  • He plucks candidates from relative obscurity and instantly turns them into household names in their districts or states — with a tweet, a rally or an endorsement. Because of his supporters' fervor, in a state like Alabama, he can quickly change opinions that were formed by voters over years, even decades.

Quote du jour ... David Wasserman of the Cook Political Report tells me:

  • "If you're a Trump-skeptical Republican, you have 3 options if you speak your mind publicly: 1) Retire. 2) Be forced into retirement in your next primary. 3) Become a CNN/MSNBC commentator."

Be smart: Trump-style politics might very well outlive this presidency, making him the most consequential GOP president since Ronald Reagan.

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Go deeper

Mike Allen, author of AM
33 mins ago - Politics & Policy

GOP senator calls for senility test for aging leaders

Photo: "Axios on HBO"

Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.), a physician, told me during an "Axios on HBO" interview that he favors cognition tests for aging leaders of all three branches of government.

Why it matters: Wisdom comes with age. But science also shows that we lose something. And much of the world is now run by old people — including President Biden, 78 ... Speaker Pelosi, 81 ...  Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, 70 ... and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, 79.

Ina Fried, author of Login
43 mins ago - Technology

Intel CEO blames predecessors for manufacturing woes

Axios on HBO

When it comes to Intel's recent manufacturing problems, Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger places the blame squarely on his predecessors — many of whom he notes were not engineers deeply steeped in chip technology, as he is.

Why it matters: Gelsinger has announced a broad plan to reinvigorate Intel by doubling down on manufacturing. However, the strategy depends on the venerable semiconductor giant recovering from recent stumbles.

Marketing to Generation Alpha

Illustration: Rae Cook/Axios

Marketers are pouring money into figuring out the tastes and habits of Generation Alpha — kids born from 2010 through 2024 — who are unprecedented in the extent they're growing up online.

Why it matters: They're weaned on TikTok, Amazon and in-app purchases. They're learning from their millennial parents to hold brands accountable for causes like social justice and sustainability. And no prior age cohort will be as large in size or marketing power.