NYT Magazine: Win or Lose, It’s Donald Trump’s Republican Party

I spoke to Elaina Plott for her cover story for the New York Times Magazine examining the Trump legacy and the long tail of his one-dimensional takeover of the GOP.

Trump’s takeover, by contrast, has been as one-dimensional as it has been total. In the space of one term, the president has co-opted virtually every power center in the Republican Party, from its congressional caucuses to its state parties, its think tanks to its political action committees. But though he has disassembled much of the old order, he has built very little in its place.

“You end up with this weird paradox where he stands to haunt the G.O.P. for many years to come, but on the substance it’s like he was never even there,” said Liam Donovan, a Republican strategist.

Read the full story here.

Continue Reading

Daily Beast: MAGA Fans Tie Susan Collins to Trump Whether She Likes It or Not

I spoke to Sam Brodey of the Daily Beast about Susan Collins’ tricky path through Maine and the attitudes of Trump voters in a politically schizophrenic state where the path to victory requires majority support.

The larger challenge for Collins, however, is that the GOP coming home may not save her from defeat.

The senator has two bigger problems, said Liam Donovan, a Republican strategist who’s worked on races in the state: Democratic nominee Joe Biden’s clear statewide advantage on the presidential ticket, and Maine’s ranked choice voting system, in which candidates who get a plurality, but not a majority, of votes do not win outright.

“It matters less what the marginal Trump voter thinks and more about, are there enough Trump voters,” Donovan said. “That’s Collins’ fundamental problem: she doesn’t make her own wake anymore. She’s surfing his, and at the end of the day, he’s not doing well enough for that marginal Trump voter to matter.”

This is where the Trump tweet comes back into play. Some local Republicans believe that Trump, in his way, was strategically trying to help Collins—giving her a “maverick” appeal by attacking her in a state where he is less popular, Winter theorized.

But many more have a hard time buying that Trump, who is on record predicting he will win Maine, was actually trying to help Collins in a roundabout way. A “three-dimensional chess move,” said Donovan, “is not what this is. It’s not helpful, it’s a distraction.”

Read the full piece here.

Continue Reading

Reuters: A newly restrained Trump faces the same old problems

I spoke to James Oliphant of Reuters about the final Presidential debate and whether the President’s performance will move the race.

Thursday’s debate in Nashville, Tennessee, was the last time for both candidates to share a stage before a large television audience, and Trump engaged in a more civil discourse with far fewer interruptions than at their first debate in September.

“Trump was fine tonight. Might even give it to him on points. It’s just not the game-changer he needs,” said Liam Donovan, a Republican strategist in Virginia who has worked on U.S. Senate campaigns.

Trump’s vulnerability on the pandemic has forced him to turn to other stratagems to try to get back in the race, including aiming to brand Biden as a corrupt politician in the same manner he attempted to do with Democrat Hillary Clinton four years ago before he edged out a narrow victory.

Donovan said the gambit would yield diminishing returns in an election where voters have far greater concerns.

“It just feels like a ham-fisted attempt to reprise 2016, which worked – barely – because a dozen things went exactly right, and people had nothing else to worry about,” he said.

Read the full piece here.

Continue Reading
1 2 3 37