Donald Trump has said he wants to help Republicans regain power in Congress. US expert Eirik Løkke is far from convinced that it is an advantage for the party.
– I do not think Trump is a winning card for the Republicans in 2022, says Eirik Løkke, advisor in the think tank Civita, to VG.
In a meeting between the recently resigned president and the minority leader in the House of Representatives, Kevin McCarthy in Florida on Thursday, it became clear that Trump has made himself available to help the Republicans in the by-elections in 2022.
Then all the members of the House of Representatives stand for election, as well as a third of the members of the Senate, the second chamber of Congress. Today, Democrats have a narrow majority in both places.
– Trump agrees with McCarthy to help Republicans gain a majority in the House of Representatives. They worked very well together in the last election, and won 15 seats, even though the polls said the opposite. They want to do it again, and the work has already started, the Trump camp wrote in a statement after the meeting.
The statement also claims that Trump has never been more popular, and that public support from him for Republican candidates “may mean more than any other public support.”
The first is a truth with certain modifications. Although Trump is still very popular with many of the Republican core voters, polls have shown that he has a low standing among other Americans – this also includes a good number of moderate Republicans.
And here lies the Republicans’ problem, according to Eirik Løkke, who is thus also not convinced of the second part of the statement.
– They may be able to mobilize a number of Republican voters who otherwise would not have voted. The problem for Republicans is that Trump is also mobilizing something fiercely against. He helps mobilize Democrats in large numbers. That is why the Democrats succeed in winning both senate seats in the re-election in Georgia in January, Løkke explains.
He believes that if 2022 should once again be a vote for or against Trump – then it will thus be an advantage for the Democrats.
“It can also help mitigate the negative effects for Joe Biden and the Democrats, and the tradition that the incumbent’s party loses support in the first by-elections after winning the presidency,” said the US expert.
– More extreme candidates
Løkke, on the other hand, believes that Trump, as he still has great support among the party’s core voters, could have a big impact on who wins the Republican primary election before the 2022 election, ie the party’s internal election on who will be their candidate for the various seats. in Congress.
Agree: This is how Trump will help Republicans
– And Republican members of Congress are aware of this, so many are cautious in their criticism, he points out.
Trump has already expressed a willingness to work against the ten Republican members of Congress who voted to put him on trial. These will probably now be challenged by Trump loyalists. And it is precisely if such candidates win the primary election that Løkke believes Trump’s help could end up as a disservice.
– More extreme candidates, supported by Trump, will speak in favor of the Democrats, the US expert states.
– Love attention
And that the Trump loyalists can win the primary election is far from unthinkable as it is often the core voters, the ones Trump still has a good grip on, who linger in those elections.
So far, nothing concrete has emerged about how Donald Trump will try to help his party, but Eirik Løkke envisages that it will be about statements of support, fundraising and election meetings.
– Trump loves attention, so I think he will be particularly interested in contributing to election rallies when the time comes.