The Real Reason This Senator Is Calling Donald Trump The Leader Of The Republican Party

There's a case to be made that the race for political office shouldn't be a pure popularity contest, but former President Donald Trump won't hear it. While holding yet another post-presidential rally this past Saturday, Trump spoke in front of thousands in Wellington, Ohio, using the platform to further advance what has become known as The Big Lie — his inaccurate assertion that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from him (via CNN).

Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio did not attend Trump's rally, citing a family commitment (via Business Insider), but he spoke about the effect of it on ABC's This Week, saying that the turnout was a strong indication of Trump's power within the Republican Party. When asked by "This Week" host Jonathan Karl if Trump was "still the leader of the — the effective leader of the Republican Party," Sen. Portman responded affirmatively, saying, "He's definitely the leader of the party in the sense that he has high popularity among the Republican base, and that's what you saw last night, I think. You saw a big turnout."

Though private social media companies like Twitter and Facebook have banned Trump from their platforms citing violations against their community standards and terms of use, his influence remains strong with his fanbase who believe both in the fraudulence of the 2020 presidential election, and that Trump's social media ban is a First Amendment rights issue (via Beacon Journal).

Donald Trump continues to sway political opinions

At present, Donald Trump currently holds no political office, yet he remains one of the most energizing (and polarizing) figures in American politics. At the Wellington rally, which Trump deemed "the very first rally of the 2022 election," he weighed in on the race for Ohio's 16th congressional district, bashing incumbent Anthony Gonzalez (via Beacon Journal). Trump called Gonzalez a "RINO," meaning "Republican-In-Name-Only," a "sellout" and a "disgrace," adding that he "voted for the unhinged, unconstitutional, illegal impeachment" — meaning, of course, his own impeachment proceedings which followed the deadly Jan. 6 insurrection (via National Review).

Sen. Rob Portman tried to steer the conversation on "This Week" to the policies which Republicans passed under Trump, citing tax reform and military spending. Though he did not directly answer Karl's question about whether he would appear on stage again with Trump, the National Review reports that Portman will not be seeking reelection.

"We live in an increasingly polarized country," Portman told ABC, "where members of both parties are being pushed further to the right and further to the left, and that means too few people who are actively looking to find common ground."

As evidenced by the fervor of Trump's rally culture, it seems that bipartisanship simply doesn't fill the stadiums, so it's no surprise that he chose the famous swing state of presidential elections, Ohio, to focus his political influence.