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Trump's transformation of GOP evident in latest primaries

WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump wasn’t on the ballot or even stateside for Tuesday’s primary elections in Virginia and South Carolina. But he loomed over both states, just as he has in nearly every nominating contest this year, underscoring how the Republican Party has become the party of Trump and that its politicians cross him at their peril.

As Rep. Mark Sanford of South Carolina found out the hard way, in his surprise primary defeat, having a conservative voting record is less important than demonstrating total loyalty to Trump, who now enjoys higher approval ratings in his own party than any modern president except George W. Bush following the attacks of Sept. 11. And in Virginia, a far-right candidate, Corey Stewart, won the Republican Senate nomination after waging an incendiary campaign and portraying himself as a disciple of Trump.


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