Forget the flag, Republican candidates are trying to wrap themselves in Trump for 2018 primaries

Matija Semijalac / Flickr Donald Trump...
Matija Semijalac / Flickr

Democrats running for office in 2018 are not being shy about their opposition to Donald Trump—as you’d expect. But even as Trump’s unpopularity endangers many Republicans, the way through a competitive GOP primary is to hug him tight, and candidates are doing just that:

  • Here’s Todd Rokita running in the May 8 Indiana Senate primary: “[GOP opponent] Luke Messer — he plotted with the Never-Trumpers to steal the nomination from President Trump… I’m Todd Rokita and I’ll proudly stand with our president and Mike Pence to drain the swamp,” he says in a TV ad as he dons a red “Make America Great Again” hat.
  • Here’s Messer’s own TV ad: “I’m Luke Messer. I get teamwork. That’s why I back President Trump’s agenda — tax cuts, pro-life and funding for our troops.” (Messer’s campaign also has seized on the news that Rokita called Trump “vulgar, if not profane” in a 2016 interview explaining why he backed Marco Rubio at the time.)

“I am 100 percent on the side of the historically unpopular president.” “No, I am. You said he wasn’t the greatest man in the history of ever that one time.” Is the next step up from putting on a MAGA hat in an ad for a candidate to run an ad showing himself getting a Trump-themed tattoo?

Many of the candidates hugging Trump the tightest are in deep red districts and states, of course, but there are also plenty of districts where primary Trump-love could be a problem in the general election. Which is to say … go for it, guys.

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Blind Trump-worship only goes so far even in deep red districts. By all means, go for it. You’ll have time to analyze your loss, I guarantee it.