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Why Trump's 2022 endorsements are 'earlier, bolder, and more dangerous' than before

Many things have changed since former President Donald Trump left office, and his strategy for endorsing political candidates is no exception; in fact, the ex-commander in chief's 2022 endorsements are "earlier, bolder, and more dangerous than when he was president," argues FiveThirtyEight.

As for the first point, Trump has, as of Dec. 7, endorsed 31 candidates in Republican primaries for roles in the Senate, House, and state governorships; that is "more than double the number of candidates Trump had endorsed by the end of December 2019," writes FiveThirtyEight. And such premature recommendations potentially dissuade other Republican challengers from entering a race while also helping Trump "solidify his influence" in the GOP.

The ex-president has also been taking more risks with the candidates he backs, in that almost half of his endorsements have gone toward non-incumbents in contested Republican primaries, reports FiveThirtyEight. He's even gotten comfortable attempting to unseat incumbent members of his own party — take his crusade against Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), for example. These observations suggest Trump is "is actively putting his clout on the line more often in hopes of installing more of his loyalists in Congress and governor's offices — and purging the GOP of his critics."

And finally, Trump has begun making "unusually niche" endorsements for secretary of state, specifically in Arizona, Georgia, and Michigan — all three states in which the current secretaries of state refused to overturn the results of the 2020 election. And the ex-president's preferred picks for those positions are all supporters of his election fraud "Big Lie," writes FiveThirtyEight.

Such observations taken together paint a picture of a former president, "eager to maintain his influence within his party" and perhaps continue his own political career.