The relentless stream of party fundraising messages that use Mr. Trump’s name — and sometimes make it look like the money is his — is proof of his appeal to small donors. Polls also show that most Republican voters value his endorsement. “His dominance of the party at the grassroots voter level is unprecedented,” said Mr. Stone, a longtime Trump adviser.
Fully aware of this, Mr. Trump also asserted his dominance over Republican leaders in Congress.
In the House, Mr. McCarthy, who hopes to become president after midterms, has tried to keep Mr. Trump on the sidelines in some primaries, lobbying, for example, to prevent him from endorsing Rep. Mary Miller of Illinois, which was drawn in the same district as Rep. Rodney Davis. Mr. Trump endorsed it anyway.
“McCarthy’s legitimate fear is that a majority will be won, but 10 members of the House will stick together and say, ‘We’re not voting for you or whatever you want,'” Mr Stone said. He said Mr. Trump would need to contest those votes.
In the Senate, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Minority Leader, has not spoken to Mr. Trump since leaving the White House, but he, too, agreed that Mr. Trump would endorse Herschel Walker for the Georgia Senate. despite some early reluctance. of his team.
Those unhappy with Mr Trump’s reign as party leader are looking for signs that his grip is slipping, and several potential 2024 rivals – Mike Pence, Ron DeSantis, Chris Christie, Tom Cotton – have seemed less frightened lately to publicly disagree with Mr. Trump as they sound out possible openings.
Races in which Mr. Trump has backed a candidate will be investigated for any watering down of his power. But the fact remains that many of those he opposes in the primaries are still running as Trump Republicans. Few see an expiration date on his dominance until he refuses to run again in 2024 or is defeated.