Donald Trump is no longer president. He no longer has the megaphone of Twitter.
But make no mistake: This is still Trump's Republican Party.
You see it in the actions of Republican state and local parties trying to punish those who went against Trump. You see this in a majority of congressional Republicans voting to uphold an objection to Pennsylvania's electoral votes for President Joe Biden.
And more than that, you see it in the polling, which indicates that Trump's in a historically strong primary position for an ex-president. Indeed, he's polling tremendously well among Republicans in the context for any future presidential nominee.
Republican leaders go against Trump at their potential electoral peril. It's not that other Republicans can't beat Trump. We'll have to wait and see on that. Rather, it's that he could be a very big voice over the next four years.
After the US Capitol insurrection on January 6, Trump's still cruising in a potential 2024 primary. A majority of Republicans (57%) said in an Ipsos KnowledgePanel poll that he should be the 2024 nominee.
Against named opponents, Trump easily leads the field. Among those who either voted for Trump in 2020 or are Republicans, Trump's averaging about half the primary vote. No one else is even close.
Trump pulling in half the vote may seem low given that Trump won over 90% of the vote in the 2020 primaries.
His position, though, is extremely unusual for a president who just lost a general election. As I've noted previously, ex-presidents usually don't lead future primary fields. Most party voters are happy to see their presidents glide into the sunset.
The three presidents who lost their chance at another term in the polling era (Gerald Ford in 1976, Jimmy Carter in 1980 and George H.W. Bush in 1992) were all lagging behind in early primary polling following their loss. Ford was in second place, Carter was in third place and Bush was in fourth place. None of them commanded anywhere near half the primary vote.
How well Trump is doing puts extreme pressure on Republicans within the party to adhere to any of the ex-president's doctrine. These members of Congress and other elected (and unelected) officials know that Trump is by far the most powerful politician within the party among the base.