- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 27, 2016

Whether Donald Trump wins or loses, his acolytes are already laying plans to harness his iconoclastic campaign in future races, hoping a little of the Trump magic can carry over to statehouses and Congressional elections.

Former Boston Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling plans to challenge Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts if his wife gives him the greenlight, while Prince William County Board of Supervisors Chairman Corey Stewart, who served as Mr. Trump’s campaign chairman in Virginia, is positioning himself for a gubernatorial bid.

And Paul Nehlen, who tried to ride the Trump message to oust House Speaker Paul D. Ryan in a primary this summer, now says he’ll ask the GOP to pick him over Mr. Ryan as speaker in the new Congress.

The trio are the latest evidence that Trumpism — in both style and substance — will outlast the GOP’s 2016 presidential nominee.

“This movement is going to continue,” Mr. Nehlen told The Washington Times on Thursday. “I am going to continue it. The Curt Schillings of the world. The Corey Stewarts of the world are going to continue it. All of us are going to continue to do what we think is the right thing for the country, which is to get back to normal order.”

How far the Trump effect goes depends on the results of the Nov. 8 election, said former U.S. Rep. Tom Davis of Virginia. He said severe beatings have a way of schooling parties, such as the GOP’s regrouping behind Richard Nixon after Sen. Barry Goldwater’s landslide loss in 1964, and Democrats’ swinging back to Jimmy Carter after Sen. George McGovern got pummeled in 1972.

“I think the dynamics that brought his candidacy on are still going to be there,” said Mr. Davis, a Republican. “You still have a very disgruntled part of the electorate that is still there. That anger doesn’t go away but how that translates into campaigns depends on how deft the candidates are.”

Mr. Schilling, a pro-life Christian, edged close to challenging Ms. Warren, a champion of liberalism, earlier this month, saying he has made the decision to run, but first needs his wife to sign off.

“Elizabeth Warren is at the center of everything that’s wrong with American politics,” he said this week.

In the meantime, Mr. Schilling has launched a radio show on the conservative website Breitbart — a marriage of pro-Trump voices.

Mr. Nehlen, meanwhile, is trying to make the most of Mr. Ryan’s uneasy alliance with Mr. Trump and centering his long-shot bid to strip him the speaker’s gavel on a 10-point “pledge” that overlaps with Mr. Trump’s populist agenda.

He is against the Trans-Pacific Partnership, wants stricter vetting of refugees, and a tax on money transfers to Mexico to help pay for a border wall.

It’s unclear that being wrapped in the Trump cloak is an electoral winner. Rep. Renee Elmers, a North Carolina Republican who was endorsed by Mr. Trump, lost her primary this summer. And in Arizona, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who has been closely tied to Mr. Trump, is facing an uphill battle to win a seventh term.

Supporting Mr. Trump wasn’t enough to carry Mr. Nehlan in his first tussle with Mr. Ryan, who won 84 percent of the vote in their primary battle in August. Winning the speakership will be even tougher — though being a member of the House isn’t required by the Constitution, no non-member has ever held the position.

The biggest test of Mr. Trump’s staying power could play out next year in Virginia, where Mr. Stewart, who gained national notoriety for pushing his county authorities to crack down on illegal immigration, will face-off in the GOP gubernatorial primary against Ed Gillespie, a former top adviser to President George W. Bush.

“My governor’s race in 2017 will be the first real test of whether or not the pro-Trump movement will secure control of the party,” Mr. Stewart said.

He said Mr. Gillespie has kept Mr. Trump at arm’s length, save for condemning the nominee after a 2005 tape emerged of the billionaire businessman making lewd remarks about women.

“I on the other hand have embraced Trump from head to toe,” Mr. Stewart said.

Mr. Stewart was fired this month as co-chair of the Trump team in Virginia after he led a protest outside of the nation’s GOP’s headquarters in Washington. He had accused the Republican National Committee of sabotaging Mr. Trump by refusing to invest more resources in Virginia.


Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.

 

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide