Trump acolytes poised to push out Senate dealmakers

Trump's absolute loyalty is just one aspect of the changes this group of candidates would bring about. The Senate will also be affected by these institutional implications. The Ohio senator negotiated the bipartisan infrastructure deal. Rob Portman was a broker? Six top GOP candidates who were vying for his replacement have rejected it.
At least five House members have already announced that they will run for open Senate seats. Nearly all of them are more conservative than the senators replacing them.

The majority of these newcomers would speed up the GOP's transition from tea to Trump party. This would complicate the work of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell who split with Trump following the Jan. 6 riots which led to Trump's second impeachment.

Trump has transformed the Republican Party. We are now a blue-collar political party. The chair of the North Carolina GOP, Michael Whatley said that we are an America-first party. It's a completely different party from when Roy Blunt (retiring Missouri Senator) and Richard Burr were first elected. The party is not going back, I think. Protect the border, fight the Second Amendment, fight to protect life. It's tough on China. This has been a hugely popular agenda among the base.

McConnell already indicated that he is willing to intervene in GOP primary fights against Trump-backed candidates if there are electability problems that could endanger the party's chances of winning the seat. This acknowledgement is made in light of the fact that Republicans are unable to make a mistake in trying to win back the majority in this evenly divided Senate.

After the Jan. 6 riots which led to Donald Trump's second impeachment, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell split with Trump. | Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

Already, tensions are escalating in Missouri as GOP officials fear that former Missouri Governor Eric Greitens will run for office. Eric Greitens, who resigned in the midst of a 2018 sex scandal, will be a threat to the party's chances at holding Blunts seat.

Greitens was the Republican primary frontrunner and made it clear in March's radio interview that he does not intend to follow in the footsteps Blunt, who is a close McConnell ally and deal-maker.

Roy Blunt, the ex-governor, has been siding with Mitch McConnell. He has been criticizing President Donald Trump over the events of Jan. 6. He has been criticizing President Obama for not attending Joe Biden's Inauguration, where everyone in Missouri saw Roy Blunt.

According to John Lamping, a former Republican state senator, all the Republicans who are seeking the Missouri Senate seat have a style and tone that is different from Blunt.

Lamping stated that Roy is a super-superior insider, and that's not what the base wants. Nobody is running for Roy Blunt senator. They are running to be a Donald Trump Senator. Opponents will accuse them of being more like Roy Blunt if someone becomes a serious threat.

It is possible that the change in the composition and leadership of the GOP conference could be even more dramatic than anticipated. In addition to the five retiring senators, questions surround the plans of three other Republicans in the chamber, South Dakotas John Thune and Alaskas Lisa Murkowski. These candidates have not yet announced their candidacies. They could be replaced with Trump-aligned candidates. Trump has already endorsed Republican Kelly Tshibaka against Murkowski, and Thune and Murkowski have gone against Trump.

McConnell could be irritated by a Trumpier Senate, but a top Republican strategist involved with Senate campaigns downplayed these risks for McConnell and acknowledged that a change would occur if the MAGA firebrands replaced the five retiring senators.

Although all of them [retiring senators] communicate well, their style is quite different. They love working behind the scenes to move legislation. They are good at that and that's why they're in Senate, stated the strategist who spoke on condition of anonymity. There is definitely a political side to us and I believe that politics across the board has become more public and vocal about the issues. While sometimes that can result in results, it's not about the actual behind-the scenes work and how the football is being moved one yard at a while down the field. It's more of a Hail Mary every snap.

These stylistic differences are evident in Alabama, where Trump has supported Rep. Mo Brooks to retire Sen. Richard Shelbys seat. Brooks, a member of the House Freedom Caucus, is most well-known for his speech at the Jan. 6 rally that took place in Washington. He urged the crowd to "start taking out names and kick ass."

Alabama's longest serving senator is Shelby, who chaired both the Appropriations & Banking committees. Leahy, a Democratic-Vt. Appropriations Chair, released a statement on Shelby's retirement that described him as a true statesman and a man who keeps his promises.

Trump's endorsement of Brooks was accompanied by criticism of McConnell, Shelby, and Katie Britt, his former chief of staff.

I see that Richard Shelby, RINO senator from Alabama and close friend of Old Crow Mitch McConnell is working hard to get his assistant to fight Mo Brooks for his Senate seat. Trump stated in a written statement that he used the acronym for a Republican only in name.

McConnell replied by saying "Old Crow was an honor" since Henry Clay loves Old Crow.

Trump also supported Ted Budd of North Carolina, another House Freedom Caucus member, who voted against the certification of the presidential results. He, along with Mark Walker, joined a lawsuit seeking to reverse the election.

Although Trump's endorsement can be a significant boost in a GOP primary election, it is not always decisive. Trump supported Senate candidate Luther Strange in Alabama's special primary. He did so over Roy Moore, the former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. Moore lost the general election.

Brett Doster, a Moores campaign worker, stated that candidates like Moore won in primaries when Trump-endorsed candidates were believed by the GOP electorate.

Doster stated that the Republican Party is still waiting to see if Trump will show up, but it's a wait-and-see situation.

Pennsylvania is the only GOP primary contest that stands out amongst them because it's a swing state that Trump lost in 2020, and one that Democrats have realistic hopes of flipping. As a sign that the ideology is different, Trump's conviction by Toomeys has become an issue in this primary campaign. However, not all prospective Republicans in the race condemn him for it.

Trump's allies have pledged to punish Ryan Costello, a potential candidate in this race, who stood for Toomey. Craig Snyder was once an aide to the former party-switching Senator Arlen Specter. However, most party insiders don't see him getting much traction.

Many believe Trump's incessant efforts to reverse the Pennsylvania election results could backfire in a general elections because the electorate in Pennsylvania is more anti-Biden and pro-Trump. Former Pennsylvania Rep. Phil English said that Trump's influence in the party is still strong.

Rob Gleason, former chair of the state GOP, cautions against believing that Trump's influence has diminished in primary politics. Trump supporters are feeling a renewed energy, he said, citing Biden's recent decline in poll numbers and the tragic withdrawal of U.S forces from Afghanistan.

Although primaries are low in turnout, you can still count on Trump supporters because they continue to attend rallies and fly Trump flags. Trump supporters in all these states are still active despite the many problems that this presidency has caused. They don't feel any more motivated. They feel vindicated.