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President Trump speaks in the East Room early this morning. Photo: Carlos Barria/Reuters

Win or lose, President Trump will emerge more powerful than ever inside the GOP, by defying expectations for himself and lifting fellow Republicans to surprise victories in the House and Senate.

Why it matters: Trump enjoyed an almost messianic hold on Republicans before the election. Now, he looks like a prophet again, against the doomsday projections for his candidacy and his party’s congressional hopes.

Between the lines: Trump will use this power to try to invalidate late-counted votes. His advisers tell us Trump expects lawmakers and the courts to fall in line.

  • If he fails, he could create a parallel government-in-waiting, wielding control over Republicans, and heckling and hounding Biden — and the media.
  • Trump did better than expected with white women and with Hispanics.

Top Republican strategists tell us that Trump will have a powerful psychic hold over the party regardless of the result.

  • Trump, if he loses, may signal he'll run again in 2024.
  • By falsely claiming to millions of adoring voters that the election was stolen — and by dangling the possibility of redemption in 2024 — Trump can effectively freeze his party for four years.

The bottom line: The party structure is weak, and Trump is by far the most popular Republican in the land. So top Republican operatives believe the GOP won’t be able to have a serious reset until the party has a new nominee in 2024.

  • But by defying polls and maintaining his grip over the Republican electorate, Trump makes that task extremely difficult if not impossible. This is Trump’s party until he decides it is not.

Jonathan Swan contributed reporting.

Subscribe to Axios AM/PM for a daily rundown of what's new and why it matters, directly from Mike Allen.
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Go deeper

Scoop: Blackstone CEO Stephen Schwarzman says Trump lost

Trump with Schwarzman in 2017. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

It's over. That's what Blackstone chairman, CEO and co-founder Steve Schwarzman — one of President Trump's most loyal allies — and other top Republicans are signaling to the defeated president, 16 days after Joe Biden clinched the win.

Why it matters: It’s all theatrics now. Even if Trump doesn't move on fast, you can. It is safe to ignore the fearful Republicans who insist the process is legit and plausible, because they tell us privately it is not. 

Michigan board certifies Biden's win

Poll workers count absentee ballots in Detroit, Michigan on Nov. 4. Photo: Salwan Georges/The Washington Post via Getty Images

The Michigan Board of State Canvassers certified the state's election results on Monday, making President-elect Joe Biden's win there official and granting him the state's 16 electoral votes.

Why it matters: Republican Party leaders had unsuccessfully appealed to delay the official certification, amid the Trump campaign's failed legal challenges in key swing states.

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Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Disinformation has proliferated on Chinese-language websites and platforms like WeChat that are popular with Chinese speakers in the U.S., just as it has on English-language websites.

Why it matters: There are fewer fact-checking sites and other sources of reliable information in Chinese, making it even harder to push back against disinformation.