President Trump is trailing in some nationwide polls, but the results of Tuesday’s primaries show he still has the fervent support of Republican voters.
Trump-endorsed candidates had a great night in Tuesday’s slate of primaries, which included votes in Alabama, Maine, and Texas. Meanwhile, Democratic primaries seemed to reflect a growing divide between the party’s moderate base and the radical left. The Democratic disarray is good news for Trump, who has firm support amongst most Republican voters.
The most notable Trump victory came from Alabama, where former Auburn University head football coach Tommy Tuberville edged out former attorney general Jeff Sessions to win the GOP nomination for U.S. senate. Sessions resigned from Alabama’s U.S. Senate seat in order to become Trump’s attorney general, but Republican voters opted against their former senate representative. Trump’s strong endorsement of Tuberville and his harsh criticism of Sessions likely played a major role in deciding the race.
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Tuberville will now face Alabama’s current Senate representative, Sen. Doug Jones. Many experts believe Jones is a highly vulnerable incumbent, so Republicans are hopeful that Tuberville can defeat him. Republicans can’t afford to lose their Senate majority, so every Senate seat is pivotal. If Tuberville can flip the seat for the GOP, it will be a major victory for President Trump and the Republican Party.
The Alabama primary was the day’s most important race for Team Trump. Trump forced out Sessions after he recused himself from overseeing the investigation into Russia’s role in the 2016 election. Sessions said he had no choice, but Trump saw the decision as a betrayal. Their relationship has been tense ever since, so Trump was eager to ostracize Session’s from the Republican mainstream.
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In Texas, another Trump-backed candidate, former White House Physician Dr. Ronny Jackson, won a contested race for a U.S. House seat. His opponent, Josh Winegarner, had an endorsement from the outgoing Republican incumbent Rep. Mac Thornberry, who decided not to seek reelection. Ultimately, Trump’s endorsement carried more weight than Thornberry’s, and Jackson cruised to an easy victory.
Tuesday’s Democratic primaries highlighted the sharp divides between the party’s moderate and progressive wings. Several far-left candidates came close to defeating established Democrats. The strong challenges put moderate Democrats in a tough position. Policymakers have to find ways to satisfy the party’s progressives without alienating moderate voters.
In Texas primary run-off for the Senate, highly-regarded Air Force veteran MJ Hegar narrowly defeated a challenge from progressive insurgent Royce West. The highly-contested race signals a sharp divide among Texas Democrats, which could impact the party’s chances at defeating Republican incumbent Rep. John Cornyn.
Kentucky’s Democratic was also a close call. Progressive-backed Charles Booker nearly defeated Amy McGrath, despite having less than half of her financial resources. The close race is another example of a growing progressive insurgency in the Democratic party.
The themes demonstrated in Tuesday’s primaries will likely play major roles in November’s elections. The Democratic party is deeply divided between its moderate base and its increasingly radical socialist elements. On the other hand, Republicans are firmly entrenched in their support for President Trump.
The success of Trump-backed candidates shows that his base is willing to turn out in force to support their president. Democrats will have to walk a fine line to bring both sides of the party into the fold if they have any hopes of ousting President Trump in November. Otherwise, it will be an easy victory for President Trump.