The 'America's tired' proposition tests GOP in upcoming primaries: The Note

The former president continues a revenge mission against dissident Republicans.

August 01, 2022, 6:02 AM

The TAKE with Rick Klein

Arizona House Speaker Rusty Bowers used a memorable phrase to tell ABC's Jonathan Karl why he doesn't think he or other Republicans will have to agonize over whether to support former President Donald Trump again in 2024: "America's tired."

Long before then, Bowers has to worry about his own GOP primary on Tuesday against a Trump-backed opponent -- making him the first Jan. 6 committee witness to face voters this year. Also on the ballot Tuesday are three of the 10 House Republicans to vote to impeach Trump after last year's Capitol riot, in addition to top-of-the-ticket proxy wars in battlegrounds including Arizona and Michigan.

In a sense, a whole crop of Republicans running in midsummer primaries are testing Bowers' theory about Republican voters. While Rep. Liz Cheney's Aug. 16 primary in Wyoming may get more attention, other Republicans who are standing or have stood against Trump with less national attention may provide truer test cases of what's to come for their party.

In the case of impeachment-backing members of Congress, the only one to advance to a general election so far is Rep. David Valadao, who avoided a head-to-head matchup with a MAGA Republican because of California's all-party primary system.

The two House members from Washington running Tuesday could benefit from a similar system, which encourages cross-party voting. Perhaps less fortunate is Rep. Peter Meijer, R-Mich., who also has to contend with Democrats' risky effort to focus on his Trump-aligned opponent in Tuesday's primary voting.

Democrats aside, Meijer, Bowers, Cheney and others are facing the outsized presence of Trump himself as he continues a revenge mission that labels them "RINOs" and worse. Ultimately their political fates will fall to those who call themselves Republicans, regardless of what Trump calls them.

PHOTO: Rusty Bowers appears for testimony during the fourth hearing on the January 6th investigation in Washington, June 21, 2022.
Rusty Bowers appears for testimony during the fourth hearing on the January 6th investigation in Washington, June 21, 2022.
Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images, FILE

The RUNDOWN with Averi Harper

Another positive COVID-19 test has landed President Joe Biden back in isolation.

"Folks, today I tested positive for COVID again. This happens with a small minority of folks. I've got no symptoms but I am going to isolate for the safety of everyone around me," Biden tweeted Saturday. "I'm still at work and will be back on the road soon."

His announcement comes as Senate Democrats move toward a vote on legislation that aims to tackle climate change, decrease health care costs, change the tax code and lower the deficit -- goals central to Biden's agenda.

Biden, who has been sure to emphasize via social media that he is working through his rebound case of COVID-19, could still be holed up in the White House if the legislation passes. His doctor said Sunday that he continues to test positive but has been "feeling well."

Biden was slated to travel to Michigan to celebrate the passage of the $280 billion CHIPS and Science Act, a boon to semiconductor production and manufacturing jobs. Those plans are now canceled -- with sickness sidelining the president again as the White House had planned a victory lap of sorts. The virus could still cause problems for Democrats in the Senate, too: The upper chamber has no proxy voting -- so they'll have to all stay healthy to get the latest reconciliation package done.

PHOTO: President Joe Biden listens during a meeting with CEOs in the South Court Auditorium on the White House complex in Washington, July 28, 2022.
President Joe Biden listens during a meeting with CEOs in the South Court Auditorium on the White House complex in Washington, July 28, 2022.
Susan Walsh/AP

The TIP with Alisa Wiersema

Trump's backing of gubernatorial Republican candidate Tudor Dixon on Friday was the latest of nearly two dozen Michigan-based endorsements he's made up and down the ballot. With endorsements spanning statewide, federal and local elections, Trump appears to be focusing on Michigan more than any other 2020 battleground.

Half of the recommendations Trump has issued in Michigan so far favor challengers for state legislative seats who he says dispute the outcome of the 2020 election (though there is no evidence for their allegations). His picks for state attorney general and secretary of state -- two executive-level positions that would be involved in the verification of future election results -- are also proponents of false claims of 2020 election fraud.

Taken together, Tuesday's down-ballot contests will not only confirm Trump's influence -- or lack thereof -- in a battleground state he lost by just over 154,000 votes, but also the races may leave a larger footprint on Michigan's election administration process for potentially years to come.

In an interview with Fox News Sunday, Dixon sidestepped saying whether she thought the 2020 election was stolen and instead blamed Democratic Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson.

"It was obviously a different election. We had COVID going on. There was the opportunity for changes to be made. This secretary of state made those changes, sending out absentee ballot applications to everyone in the state," Dixon said.

Dixon also pushed back on criticism from Republicans who say her ties to Trump's former Education Secretary Betsy DeVos -- who resigned from his administration amid Jan. 6 fallout -- indicate that she is not conservative enough to be a candidate for the party.

"The secretary knows that she and I differ on that subject," Dixon said when asked if she agreed with DeVos about Trump's involvement in Jan. 6.

PHOTO: Republican candidate for governor Tudor Dixon, of Norton Shores, appears at a debate in Grand Rapids, Mich., July 6, 2022.
Republican candidate for governor Tudor Dixon, of Norton Shores, appears at a debate in Grand Rapids, Mich., July 6, 2022.
Michael Buck/AP, FILE

NUMBER OF THE DAY, powered by FiveThirtyEight

12. That's the number of key primaries we're watching in Arizona and Missouri on Tuesday night. And as FiveThirtyEight's Geoffrey Skelley and Nathaniel Rakich write, both states have some pretty wide-open races where a full-blown election denier could grab the reins on the GOP side. We'll be back Tuesday with our preview of the key races to watch in Kansas, Michigan and Washington and please join us Tuesday as we live blog the results at FiveThirtyEight.

THE PLAYLIST

ABC News' "Start Here" Podcast. "Start Here" begins Monday morning with a look at the deadly floods in eastern Kentucky as survivors brace for more rain this week. ABC's Mola Lenghi leads us off. Then, ABC News medical contributor Dr. Darien Sutton discusses President Biden's COVID-19 "rebound" case. And ABC's Trish Turner explains what's in Democrats' new climate bill that has the approval of Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va. http://apple.co/2HPocUL

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW TODAY

  • Sens. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., and Rob Portman, R-Ohio, will appear for a one-hour debate starting at 7:30 p.m. ET at George Washington University's Jack Morton Auditorium. Organizers say the goal is "to reintroduce the culture of seeking common ground and consensus."
  • President Biden continues to isolate at the White House after testing positive for COVID, in an apparent rebound with the virus.

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