Will Trump’s Troubling Endorsements Split the Base?

Trump built his brand, and a following, by being a Populist President, implementing America first policies, and exposing the incestuous relationship between the Deep State and Establishment Politics. Love him or hate him, you have to hand it to him: he pulled back the curtain so Americans could see the corruption deeply embedded within bureaucratic bodies of government, such as the CDC, NIH, FDA, DOJ, FBI, and more. 

Many wondered how all of this corruption could go unpunished. Over the past two years, the focus has turned to our elected representatives, who “should,” many reasoned, address the crimes being exposed. Cries escalated, calling for removal of elected reps at low-level positions, such as local school boards, to cries for impeachment of a treasonous President.

Now that the new election cycle is upon us, Americans are faced with the opportunity to fire those we saw as appeasers and replace them with men and women who will defend the timeless principles of liberty: individual liberty, a constrained and accountable government, and even private property. 

And how do we get liberty lovers into office? The Florida GOP, the party with a platform for small-and-accountable government, offers what they hope is a solution to their problem: get former President Trump to endorse liberty-loving candidates so his base has a “cheat sheet” of sorts to know who “our” guy is.

And, it’s true. If Trump’s base votes as they’re told, the GOP will “win” by keeping or expanding their seats. 

But there’s a problem with this plan. 

The endorsements look dangerously close to the same people who got us here in the first place. In fact, many are the same people who got us here.

Let’s take a look at some of Trump’s endorsements:

The first is Congressman Vern Buchanan running as an incumbent. Buchanan represents the 16th Congressional District covering Sarasota, Manatee and parts of Hillsborough counties. Though well-known among the people of Sarasota and Longboat Key where he resides, Buchanan is not a well-liked politician among the people. In fact, when he was introduced at last year’s Sarasota Trump Rally, the crowd booed. Buchanan regularly espouses Republican values, but his voting record shows he is not faithful to the party platform. Party loyalists say this makes Buchanan a Republican in Name Only (RINO). Buchanan has joined twice with Democrats and voted for gun control and during each session over his nine years in Congress, he has voted for every spending bill, adding to the trillion dollar U.S. debt. 

Buchanan has the money but not the reputation to win elections. He desperately needed Trump’s endorsement. 

And he got it. 

The second is Florida State Senate President, Wilton Simpson. Simpson, who is termed out this year, has his sights set on becoming the next Commissioner of Agriculture. When you think of that position, think “Big Sugar.” Simpson received an astounding amount of sugar industry campaign money, including $675,000 to one of several political committees he chaired. Simpson supported a bill to expand Florida’s Right to Farm Law to shield them from lawsuits over particle emissions. The industry was rocked when a federal lawsuit was filed over Big Sugar’s practice of setting fire to its fields to clear excess leaves before harvesting the stalks, choking nearby towns. 

But even more important, Simpson as agriculture commissioner would oversee all concealed carry permits in the state of Florida. With one out of four Florida residents having a concealed carry permit, who we elect must embrace and support Florida gun rights. 

Simpson doesn’t. 

Simpson wrote the “Red Flag” law passed in March 2018. This law allows for a gun seizure without due process. An accusation can be made against a gun owner and, without substantiation, their guns are seized and the owner must prove they are innocent before having them returned to them. On average, it costs $2000 – $10,000 in legal fees to have the confiscated firearms returned. So far, since enacted, over 2500 lawful gun owners have lost their guns without due process.

Simpson spent the 2021 – 2022 legislative sessions quietly killing the Constitutional Carry bill introduced. He talked a good game, stating he would welcome having the bill heard on the senate floor.

But that never happened. because the bill died in the Rules Committee Chaired by the next Florida Senate President, Kathleen Passidomo, who conveniently kept the bill off the Rules’ agenda. 

Because Simpson’s activities are finally being exposed, opposition is mounting against him. So, he desperately needed Trump’s endorsement as candidate for Commissioner of Agriculture this year. 

He got it. 

And then there’s Marco Rubio. Rubio is disliked by the very group of conservative Floridians who helped catapult him to the national political stage –  the TEA Party – and they have a long memory. Even middle-of-the-road Republicans turned on Rubio during the 2016 presidential election when he became… well, unpresidential. Appearing petty, then defensive of his dismal voting record, Floridians chose Trump as the presidential nominee instead of their own U.S. Senator. 

Rubio has spent the last six years creating legislation and voting contrary to the values of his base. He completely flipped on his campaign promise against amnesty for 11 million illegal immigrants’ path to citizenship and joined the Gang of 8 to pass the Amnesty bill to the furor of his Florida grassroots supporters. 

He has voted in favor of increased spending bills that bloat the national debt and increase the size of government. He also wrote the federal red flag bill. 

Here is a man who definitely needed Trump’s magic touch that makes the “RINO” go away….. 

And he got it. 

Perhaps Trump’s pièce de résistance: exposing the Deep State and Establishment Politics will be the very thing that makes him lose favor with his Base. At this point, nobody is exempt from scrutiny, including Trump himself. And after the colossal failure in judgment on his advisors, Trump seems to continue to believe subversive political operatives he believes are loyal to him. 

He couldn’t be more wrong. 

Every endorsement appears to accomplish two things. First, his endorsements keep Establishment Republicans in office. Second, his endorsements erode the confidence the Base has in Trump.

So, who is advising Trump? Perhaps the first place to look is who would benefit from keeping Establishment RINOs in place. And while we may not be able to pinpoint the fox in the hen house, here is what we do know: Trump’s endorsements are splitting the Base. 

Will Trump realize this in time to get party-platform Republicans on the ticket in November–or will it be too late? 

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By Mark Young

Mark Young is a U.S. Army veteran and a seasoned journalist of 25 years. His writing and reporting has garnered dozens of state press association and press club awards in Florida, Nebraska and Wyoming for investigative reporting, opinion writing, in-depth reporting and more.

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