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Analysis: The 1 thing I still don’t get about Donald Trump’s continued dominance of the GOP

Make no mistake: Trump’s endorsement of J.D. Vance in the Ohio Republican US Senate primary was the reason the author and first-time candidate won the nomination.
As he has done many times before — Ron DeSantis, I am looking at you — Trump reached down into the middle of the Republican pack, plucked someone out and drove them to a victory.

What’s new about the Vance endorsement and win is that they didn’t come with Trump as president, at the zenith of his political power and influence.

They came, instead, after Trump became the first incumbent president since George H.W. Bush to lose his bid for a second term. And after his party had, in quick succession, lost its majorities in the House (2018) and Senate (2020), due in large part to Trump’s unpopularity in the country at large.

All of which brings me to a line from a speech Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, a potential 2024 GOP presidential candidate in his own right, gave Tuesday evening at the Ronald Reagan library in California.

“A party that lost the popular vote in seven out of the last eight presidential elections, and that couldn’t even beat Joe Biden, is desperately in need of a course correction,” he said.

Any — and I mean any — objective analysis of the state of the GOP in the wake of Trump’s presidency leaves you with this: The party needs change — and fast.

Yet Trump remains — and not just remains, but prospers! — in spite of the fact that he both oversaw and bears responsibility for the fact that Republicans are shut out of power on both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue!

Hogan’s plea to change course, then, is very likely to fall on deaf ears. If he does run for president, he would do so as a massive long shot against Trump (assuming the former President runs again).

The Point: It’s a remarkable trick Trump has pulled. And I still don’t totally understand how he did it.

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