But Trump’s influence and legacy in politics won’t end there. Not by a long shot.
But there will actually be a chance to see how much Trump has changed the party (or not) before then: The 2022 midterms are extremely likely to feature two prominent members of Trump world running for governor and could have a third, Trump-adjacent candidate primarying Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski.
Start in Minnesota, where MyPillow founder Mike Lindell, one of Trump’s earliest and most loyal backers, has made clear his interesting in challenging Gov. Tim Walz in 2022.
“Lindell is telling those courting him to seek the Republican nomination for governor in 2022 that he will do so ‘if I get it in prayer to run.’ He’s also working with a legal team that includes former GOP attorney general candidate Doug Wardlow to study what changes he would need to make to his marketing if he became a political candidate.”
And as Trump has focused his efforts of late on making Minnesota into a swing state in this year’s presidential race, he’s made clear that he’s all in for Lindell.
Trump has been similarly effusive about the political future of his one-time White House press secretary Sarah Sanders.
It appears Trump will get his wish.
Then there is the curious case of Sarah Palin in Alaska. Palin, a former governor and the 2008 vice presidential nominee for Republicans, has been making noise of late about the possibility of taking on Murkowski in a 2022 Senate primary.
In a recent video, Palin challenged Murkowski for coming out in opposition to a vote on Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Amy Coney Barrett, before the 2020 election.
How each of these candidates fare in their attempts to latch onto Trump’s legacy will be determined, in large part, by what happens on November 3. If Trump is reelected — or, in Lindell’s case, manages to carry Minnesota — will give momentum to these candidates hoping to run in his image and on their closeness to him.
If Trump loses — and especially if he loses badly — the GOP may well be in the midst of a reckoning with the Trump years that might make it more difficult for Sanders, Lindell and Palin to win contested Republican primaries.
No matter what happens in 35 days’ time, however, Donald Trump (and those who seek to invoke his name and legacy for their political benefit) isn’t going away anytime soon.