Politics

Trump’s Influence Has Energized Outsiders In GOP Primary Races, Strategists Say

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A number of successful candidates in the GOP primary elections held on Aug. 9 in Vermont, Connecticut, Minnesota, Wisconsin, espouse domestic and foreign policies consistent with those of former President Donald Trump.

The FBI’s Monday night raid on the former president’s Mar-a-Lago home, as part of an investigation into the alleged moving of documents from the White House after Trump left office, has aroused concern among some voters in those states who feel that federal law enforcement has overstepped its bounds, and it may have provided a further impetus to turn out and support outsider campaigns influenced or inspired by the example of Trump, political strategists said.

The influence of Trump is evident even in deep blue states such as Connecticut, Vermont, and Minnesota. Democrat politicians’ records on issues such as inflation, competition with China, and policing, respectively, have driven public frustration and opened a window for candidates who might not normally think of these states as hospitable environments for their ideas and platforms, the analysts said.

In a deep-blue state, Connecticut, the influence of Trump made itself felt in the victory of a candidate whom the former president endorsed. Businesswoman Leora Levy gained 47,105 votes, or 50.6 percent of the total, compared to 37,177, or 40 percent, for runner-up Themis Klarides.

An article in the Hartford Courant was unambiguous about the role of Trump in paving the way for Levy, calling Trump a “game changer” and noting that a tele-rally held by Trump on Levy’s behalf on Monday night drew no fewer than 32,679 listeners, with a reported 98 percent of callers hailing from Connecticut.

In a speech following her victory, Levy denounced the FBI’s Mar-a-Lago raid as “un-American” and called it reminiscent of what the authorities do in such authoritarian states as Cuba and China. Levy mentioned that she and her sister had escaped from communist Cuba.

Levy used rhetoric reminiscent of Trump when she criticized her rival on the Democrat side, Sen. Richard Blumenthal, who did not face any challenge in the primary. Levy compared Blumenthal to Joe Biden, implying that he is a longtime political insider and establishment figure, and criticized the senator for having supported “defund the police” rhetoric.

Blumenthal, who has held his Senate seat since 2011, has recently taken to Twitter to praise Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act as a “historic measure” that will help alleviate climate change as well as the record-high inflation that Americans are grappling with.

In the primary race to run for the U. S. Senate in the fall, and to replace retiring 82-year-old Senator Patrick Leahy, the clear winner on the GOP side was Army veteran Gerald Malloy, who garnered 12,134 votes, or 43 percent, compared to 10,872, or 38.5 percent, for U.S. Attorney Christina Nolan and 5,216, or 18.5 percent, for businessman Myers Mermel.

In a number of critical ways, Malloy is a candidate in the Trump mode whose platform includes building a wall on the border to stop illegal immigration, promoting energy independence by restarting the Keystone pipeline shut down under the Biden administration, supporting law enforcement in the face of calls to “defund,” and alleviating U. S. debt.

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Malloy’s decisive victory in a primary election in a solid-blue state is the continuation of a trend evident in recent races across the country, Michael Reinhardt, a political strategist based in Vermont, told The Epoch Times. The moment is favorable to political outsiders, exemplified by J. D. Vance in Ohio and Hershel Walker in Georgia, who have found invigoration in the enduring popularity and influence of Trump, Reinhardt said.

“Trump undergirds all that energy. I do think it is important for how we look at American politics going forward to see this real desire on the right to embrace political outsiders, and people who really brand themselves as disruptors,” he said.

Another issue on which Malloy’s views are reminiscent of Trump’s is China, or more specifically, the fentanyl crisis afflicting rural U. S. states, in which the Chinese regime plays a role. China is the primary source of fentanyl precursors that make their way into the United States via Mexico.

“Malloy is responding to the drug epidemic in Vermont, and many other rural states, with fentanyl continuing to be the primary driver of opioid-related deaths in Vermont—86 percent of deaths in 2019,” Jessica Teets, a professor of political science at Middlebury College, told The Epoch Times.

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Teets noted that Vermont has taken part in the successful lawsuit against Purdue Pharma LP for its alleged role in facilitating the spread of opioids, and formed a task force to figure out how to put to use $36.4 million in settlement funds in order to combat the epidemic.

“This is a Vermont issue, but it is also an important one in other rural states,” Teets said.

However, in his response to the opioid crisis, Malloy tends to emphasize securing the southern border—the route through which cartels supplied by Chinese firms bring opioids into the United States—more than confronting China directly over the issue, Teets clarified…. (Read more)

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