The 2022 midterms are a-coming, and former President Donald Trump is ready for battle. His team has been ramping up its efforts to ensure Republicans retake the House and Senate next year. Over the next 12 months, the nation will see how Trump performs in the role of kingmaker, and that could have tremendous ramifications for the future beyond the midterms.
Trump Is Ready to Rumble
Trump is pushing to ensure that non-establishment America First Republican candidates make it to Washington after November 2022. Earlier this year, he was already seeking and vetting individuals who might successfully challenge such establishment figures as Representatives Liz Cheney (R-WY) and Adam Kinzinger (R-IL).
The Hill reported:
“Trump himself is issuing endorsements at a more rapid clip than earlier this year and is planning to barnstorm Georgia and Iowa in the coming weeks. Meanwhile, his allies are dropping millions of dollars to buoy his supported candidates in marquee races, and his affiliated consultants are airdropping into key races to boost backers and knock off incumbents viewed as disloyal.”
According to The Hill, “a flurry of activity” took place in the days preceding and following Labor Day, the unofficial kickoff of the midterm cycle, indicated “Trump World is ready to insert itself as races up and down the ballot begin to escalate.”
An operative in Trump’s circle said: “Expect the unexpected with Donald Trump, and I say that as a positive.” He went on to explain that Trump would be “on the campaign trail pretty aggressively” and that “he’s going to do what he can to get his people across the finish line, particularly in the races that he really cares about.”
Several of the people Trump is endorsing are running against incumbent Republicans who have attacked him or those who pushed back against the America First agenda. “Among the nearly 40 candidates Trump has backed are challengers to a handful of House GOP incumbents and one sitting senator, each of whom supported his impeachment earlier this year following the Jan. 6 insurrection,” reported The Hill. The former president also has expressed support for Republicans running for secretary of state in Georgia, Michigan, and Arizona and plans to travel to Iowa and Georgia to campaign for candidates he is supporting.
“The idea that there was going to be a whole election cycle that Donald Trump wasn’t going to try to put himself at the center of, it just wasn’t a reasonable expectation,” said Scott Jennings, a Republican strategist. “I think the operating principle for him is, ‘I’m going to be at the center of this.’ And what he’s doing right now is trying to be the head of the Republican Party.”
Trump’s presence on the Republican political field has already been felt, especially in Wyoming, where he formally endorsed Harriet Hageman, who is running to oust Cheney. That endorsement has already begun to clear the field of others who sought to contest her.
Representative Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH), who voted to impeach Trump under the pretense that he incited the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol, decided to retire instead of trying to fend off a challenge from a candidate supported by the former president.
Trump’s influence is also being seen in various Senate races. In Pennsylvania, for example, he recommends veteran Sean Parnell in the GOP primary. Businessman Jeff Bartos responded by exposing opposition research against Parnell, revealing his estranged wife sought to impose protective orders against him. However, the Parnell camp pointed out that the judge did not grant her request.
Another GOP strategist told The Hill: “[Trump] is the animating figure for our base, and he will remain so until he chooses not to engage in politics any longer.” However, some have speculated that his presence in politics may energize Democrats in 2022 and alienate certain groups of voters.
A Boon or Burden?
Trump has the uncanny ability to motivate droves of leftists to turn out to vote against him. However, he will not be on the ballot in 2022. It seems highly doubtful that his kingmaking will trigger a significant response against Republicans in the midterms.
It is also worth remembering that President Joe Biden seems to have flubbed every crisis his administration has faced. Afghanistan, the migrant crisis, inflation, and other issues are likely to remain prominent in voters’ minds in 2022. Indeed, if the administration continues to bungle more high-profile issues, it will make it more difficult for Democrats to retain power. No one has a crystal ball, but it is not hard to predict that this particular midterm election will be a memorable one.