April 24, 2019

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Trump’s Takeover of the Republican Party Is Almost Complete

Trump’s Takeover of the Republican Party Is Almost Complete
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In some respects, the shift toward Mr. Trump in Republican state organizations has been organic, driven by the president’s immense popularity with the party’s most committed voters. In Arizona, an emerging presidential swing state, conservative activists in January ejected a chairman aligned with the G.O.P. establishment in favor of Kelli Ward, a former Senate candidate with fringe views who tied herself closely to Mr. Trump.

But Mr. Trump and his aides have also taken a more active hand in shaping the party leadership around the country, mostly to their own great advantage, according to half a dozen Republicans briefed on the Trump campaign’s loyalty operation. A division of the Trump campaign known as the Delegates and Party Organization unit has closely tracked state party leadership elections and occasionally weighed in to help a preferred contender.

In Michigan, for instance, Mr. Trump’s campaign manager, Brad Parscale, recently endorsed a former state legislator, Laura Cox, to take over Michigan’s discombobulated state party.

The Trump campaign has also taken steps to blunt the influence of a few Republican governors who are hostile to the president. In Massachusetts, Trump aides worked in January to help a hard-line candidate, Jim Lyons, win the chairmanship against a candidate linked closely to the state’s Republican governor, Charlie Baker, who is a critic of Mr. Trump. (As a candidate, Mr. Lyons vowed to “make the Massachusetts Republican Party great again.”)

In Maryland, where Gov. Larry Hogan has mused about challenging Mr. Trump, presidential loyalists in the party apparatus are prepared to flout Mr. Hogan’s wishes in selecting delegates. In Maryland and some other states, convention delegates are selected by a combination of primary voters and members of the state party committee — constituencies overwhelmingly supportive of Mr. Trump.

“No other candidate, no matter if it’s Gov. Hogan, Bill Weld or anybody else, will get one single delegate out of Maryland,” said David Bossie, the state’s R.N.C. committeeman and an adviser to Mr. Trump.

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