How Trumpism is on the march in Arkansas

While Griffin didn’t mention the name “Sarah Huckabee Sanders” in his announcement, the candidacy of former President Donald Trump’s press secretary was, without any question, the reason Griffin bowed out of a contest he had been running in since last year. 

The reality Griffin bowed to on Monday is this: Sanders is close to unbeatable in a Republican primary in a state as strongly pro-Trump as Arkansas. (Trump won the state by almost 28 points in 2020.)
And there’s no question where Trump’s loyalties lie. He officially endorsed Sanders’ gubernatorial campaign late last month in a press release that touted her as a “warrior who will always fight for the people of Arkansas and do what is right, not what is politically correct.”

While Griffin saw the writing on the wall, Attorney General Leslie Rutledge remains in the race against Sanders. But it’s hard to see how her chances are much better than Griffin’s against Sanders. Which is to say, her chances are not good.

What the moves in Arkansas make clear is that even as Republicans in Washington debate what role — if any — Trump should have in the party going forward, that conversation in Republican states is already mostly over.

Candidates aligned with Trump — especially those as closely aligned as Sanders — are playing up that connection and benefitting politically from it.

The Point: Trumpism isn’t dead. It’s still the dominant force within the GOP.

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