Vulnerable House Republicans are worried that former President Donald Trump will be a “drag” on the GOP down-ballot races in 2024, writes Cook Political Report editor-in-chief Amy Walter.

GOP candidates are fretting over a “Trump drag,” according to Walter, looking at how the ex-president seems to be imposing his MAGA brand more permanently on the entire party, a problem that’s been getting worse over time:

In 2016, 23 Republican House candidates won in districts that Trump lost. These Republicans didn’t just barely outrun Trump; most of them out-performed their 2016 nominee by double digits — by a 20 point margin, on average…

Two years later, those voters didn’t draw that same distinction between Trump and GOP House candidates. In 2018, Democrats flipped all but two of those 23 Clinton/Republican districts.

By 2020, these “swing districts” once again voted overwhelmingly Democratic. Biden won 21 of the 23 districts Clinton had carried in 2016, and House Democrats carried 15 of the 23…

In 2016, when Trump was a novelty, 23 Republican candidates won in districts Trump lost. Four years later, only nine Republicans were able to do the same thing. In 2022, Democrats effectively branded the GOP as the party of MAGA and Trump, helping them to pick up a Senate seat and hold down their losses in the House.

CNN’s Manu Raju brought up Walter’s report for the panel to discuss Monday afternoon, noting that the GOP presidential primary — already a messy slugfest between Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis — “will not be the only brutal political fight in 2024.”

Republicans have to defend their “narrowly-won House majority” in 2024, said Raju, and hope to expand it, “but there’s fear of a ‘Trump drag’ for Republicans down ticket,” citing Walter’s article.

The Trump drag is real,” said Raju. “It is a real concern that we hear oftentimes and there are a lot of vulnerable Republican freshmen who won seats despite Trump losing in those districts.”

Among those Republicans, Raju pointed out, was embattled Rep. George Santos (R-NY), who has “much different issues now,” after the exposure of his many liesfederal indictment, and ethics investigation.

Currently, Republicans hold 222 seats and Democrats 213, said Raju. “Trump could just drag down enough of these members to flip the House.”

Washington Post Congressional reporter Marianna Sotomayor agreed with Raju, noting that Democrats “just need five seats,” and “could easily get that from New York itself.”

A number of the Republican congressional candidates who stumbled in 2022, said Sotomayor, were dragged down by problematic Trump-endorsed candidates running for governor or senate in their states. As a result, the NRCC was urging its candidates to “keep it local,” and “try as much as possible not to talk about” national issues or what the presidential candidates were saying.

“Easier said than done in a midterm election than a presidential race,” said CNN chief national affairs correspondent Jeff Zeleny, and the Democrats had their own challenges with President Joe Biden’s dismal approval ratings.

Source: Vulnerable House Republicans Worried About ‘Trump Drag’ Repeating 2022 Midterm Losses (

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