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Over the past couple years, conservative activists like Steve Bannon and members of the far-right group Turning Point Action have emphasized a tactic they refer to as the “precinct strategy.” Essentially, it refers to a takeover of the Republican Party at the grassroots level by nominating and electing MAGA acolytes to positions within local party leadership.
And it seems like Bannon and friends have had some success on that front, as several state Republican Party chapters have bent hard to the right since 2020. But in recent months, news reports have highlighted the financial downsides of electing Trump loyalists as party officials. And Monday’s Washington Post report helps to illustrate the pitfalls of such far-right takeovers for GOP chapters in battleground states such as Michigan, Arizona and Georgia, where parties have been usurped by novices with few political ties and toxic political views that come with literal costs.
According to the Post:
In each of these 2024 battlegrounds, election denial and grass-roots fervor for former president Donald Trump have rocked the Republican apparatus. Now, the state parties are plagued by infighting, struggling to raise money and sometimes to cover legal costs stemming from Trump’s efforts to overturn his 2020 defeat — threatening to hamper GOP organizing capabilities in next year’s presidential election.
To get a sense of the personal and financial chaos created by a MAGA extremist takeover of a local Republican Party chapter, read this fascinating feature from AZCentral on how right-wing activists turned Arizona’s already-conservative GOP chapter into a hotbed of Trumpian illiberalism, turning off donors and voters alike.
Arizona offers prime evidence that MAGA extremists can create financial hurdles for the GOP. Last year, I wrote on how establishment Republican fundraisers essentially abandoned advertising plans for their Senate candidate, Blake Masters, when his campaign started to nosedive.
The Post’s reporting suggests the GOP’s main issue isn’t limited to candidate quality; it’s about the structure and priorities of the increasingly illiberal state parties that are paying for their political missteps — at the bank and at the ballot box.
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