While former President Barack Obama has generated a lot of news by endorsing over 80 Democrat candidates for governor, Congress and Senate, President Trump has been even more active in the run-up to the mid-term elections. What is more, he has endorsed not just those who actively support his policies, but even those who have strongly disagreed with him in the past.
The president has made it a point to endorse candidates who agree with his stance on crime, border security, taxes and support for active military members and veterans. Some of the many politicians he has formally endorsed in the last few months include Sen. Ted Cruz, who is running against progressive Democrat candidate Beto O’Rourke; Kris Kobach, who is running for governor of Kansas; African-American Congressional candidate John James in Michigan and Rep. David Kustoff in Tennessee. While the above-mentioned policy issues are clearly some of the most important criteria the president uses when choosing who to endorse, he is also clearly seeing the need to maintain party unity by being willing to endorse those who don’t put these issues front and center in their campaigning.
Recently, Trump endorsed Troy Balderson for Congress in Ohio’s 12th District special election, who defeated his Democratic opponent by the narrowest of margins. The move made news as Ohio Governor John Kasich, a Republican who is perhaps best known for his opposition to many of the president’s positions, also endorsed Mr. Balderson for the seat. He has also officially endorsed Republican gubernatorial candidate John Cox in California, even though Mr. Cox didn’t vote for Trump in the presidential election. Another surprise endorsement is that of Mitt Romney, who is running for Senate in his home state of Utah. Like Sen. Cruz, Mr. Romney was extremely antagonistic towards the president during the 2016 campaign, but appears to have reconciled with him in the months following Trump’s 2016 election win.
One of the surprising aspects of the president’s endorsements is that, in choosing mainstream Republicans, he is often explicitly rejecting a number of candidates who are claiming to the most like him. While President Trump is likely aware that is rejection is sure to befuddle those who voted for drastic change in Washington, it is not hard to see that the move is more of a pragmatic rather than ideological one.
Not all Republican voters approve of the president, and independent voters who chose him over Hillary Clinton back in 2016 may not feel inclined to vote for Republican political candidates who don’t hold to centrist views. By picking mainstream candidates, the president is clearly trying to help the GOP retain control of both houses of Congress, a feat that certainly won’t be easy given the fact that the party in the White House almost always loses control of at least one house of Congress during the mid-term elections. At the same time, the move to endorse mainstream candidates backed by leading GOP politicians is sure to please those whose help he will need now and in the future in order to pass laws in accordance with his agenda and election promises.
Given the fact that so much is at stake, it is clearly a wise move for the president to take practical considerations into account when choosing candidates to endorse. While the president has made clear his appreciation those who support with his stance on important matters, he has also reached out to Republicans who don’t fully agree with him, offering his endorsement in order to try to help them win their races.
While the president’s endorsement is sure to benefit some candidates more than others, it is a sign that President Trump is willing to reconcile with GOP politicians who didn’t work well with him in 2016, a move that is sure to enhance Republican unity at a time when the GOP needs it more than ever.
~ Conservative Zone