Trump is 'more powerful today than he was a year ago' -- and that's a big problem for McConnell: columnist

In her column for Real Clear Politics, conservative A.B. Stoddard dismissed reports that Donald Trump's power over the Republican Party is waning and that the GOP should fear what the ex-president has up his sleeve going into the 2022 midterms.

While a few of his primary endorsements have floundered, his own brand remains strong with his rabid followers who are highly motivated to make any of his wishes come true, Stoddard suggested. That, in turn, she wrote could bedevil Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) who is trying to move forward from Trump, and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) who is trying to hold onto his leadership position as GOP House members loyal to the ex-president plot against him.

Writing that "McConnell is not immune from the damage Trump intends to inflict," Stoddard added McConnell's comments that he is interested in what the House committee investigating the Jan 6th riot will turn up is only inviting more attacks from the former president.

"These provocations are being met with pushback from his lieutenants in MAGA world, where lying about the election and Jan. 6 has evolved from a litmus test to an organizing principle," she wrote, adding, "... fringe characters on the right dominate online messaging and fundraising, and Trump helps and encourages them. And any suggestion that Trump’s power will diminish for 2024 if his endorsement records are spotty in 2022 is laughable."

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According to the conservative, it is foolishness to believe Trump has lost his grip and that it is highly likely the former president will make McConnell and McCarthy's lives a living hell for the next year.

"So next summer, when Trump is still targeting McConnell and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, that will be a problem for every Republican candidate running for a House or Senate seat, as well as McCarthy’s hope of becoming speaker," she wrote. "The question of whether or not McCarthy deserves to be speaker is separate from how disruptive an insurgent threat to him is to the entire party. Empowering Gaetz and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene to challenge McCarthy in the House still affects the Senate, no matter how different the two GOP conferences are and no matter how much stronger a leader McConnell may be. Efforts to undermine leadership by galvanizing radicals spills into all Republican campaigns up and down the ballot."

Stoddard then warned, "Trump won’t call off the dogs, won’t admit McConnell and the establishment are right about anything, and won’t stop fighting Republicans. Why? He has no incentive to."

You can read her whole piece here.