'MAGA doesn’t belong to him': New analysis explains the meaning behind Trump-endorsed candidates’ primary losses

Trump supporter voter hat
Make America Great Again hat in support of Donald Trump at a rally at Veterans Memorial Coliseum at the Arizona State Fairgrounds in Phoenix, Arizona. // Gage Skidmore

Since losing the 2020 presidential election, former President Donald Trump has been on a warpath in an effort to seek revenge against the so-called RINOs (Republicans In Name Only) he believes betrayed him. In battleground states across the country, Trump had endorsed Republican candidates who align with his political agenda in hopes of laying the foundation for a solid 2024 presidential run.

However, the recent election results in Georgia appear to show Trump's influence is slipping among Republican voters. In the past, a Trump endorsement was close to a guaranteed electoral win but that wasn't exactly the case in the Georgia primary. Trump-aligned candidates running for top governor and secretary of state faced substantial losses to Republican incumbents the former president hoped to unseat.

The Associated Press' Jill Colvin and Jeff Martin have penned an analysis breaking down what this means for Trump. The former president has reportedly endorsed more than 200 Republican races across the United States. Although some of his endorsements have paid off, others were completely disappointing; namely the outcome in Georgia.

"His biggest upset was in Georgia, a crucial swing state, where former Sen. David Perdue, whom Trump had lobbied to run and helped clear the field for, lost to Kemp," Colvin and Martin wrote. "The governor was among Trump’s top targets after he refused to overturn the results of the 2020 White House election in his state."

They added, "Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, who defied Trump’s call to 'find' the votes to change the outcome two years ago — a call that is now under investigation — also won his party’s nomination. Attorney General Chris Carr and Insurance Commissioner John King — both opposed by Trump — were also successful in their primaries."

Some voters in Georgia have even spoken out about their ballot decisions and why they voted the way they did.

“I like Trump a lot, but Trump is in the past,” said David Butler of Woodstock, Georgia, who cast his ballot for Kemp during Tuesday's primary. He also said that Trump’s endorsed candidates had "no'' impact "whatsoever" on his decisions.

Will Parbhoo, another Republican voter in Georgia also weighed in with a similar sentiment as he admitted that he'd grown tired of the election conspiracies. "I’m not really a Trumper,” he said after voting. “I didn’t like him to begin with. With all the election stuff, I was like ‘Dude, move on.’”

Although Trump has not been completely phased out, it's becoming more apparent that his influence is waning. During a recent interview, Pennsylvania Republican candidate Kathy Barnette weighed in on this. “MAGA doesn’t belong to him,” said Barnette, who gained late popularity during the primary. “Trump coined the word. He does not own it.”

She added, “I do believe Trump has an important voice still,” but “he needs to get better advisers, and in addition to that, he needs to do better himself in remembering why we aligned with him. And it wasn’t because we were aligning with his values. It was because he was aligning with our values. And I think he needs to remember that so that his voice can remain relevant.”

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