GOP strategist: Trump will be anchor around Republicans' necks in general election

GOP strategist: Trump will be anchor around Republicans' necks in general election

GOP strategist Mike Murphy on Sunday said Republican candidates running pro-Trump platforms in this year's primaries will find the president is an "anchor around [their] neck" during the general elections. 

"Now you come out ... from the 'Trump church' in the Republican primary with a big Trump halo. But in the general election, Democrats all hate Trump and among independents he’s mostly upside-down," Murphy said on NBC's "Meet the Press."

"So what is your magic light sword in the primary becomes an anchor around your neck in the general," he continued.

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Republican candidates across the country are attempting to appeal to Trump supporters by seeking to closely align themselves with the president and his agenda.

Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp (R), whose campaign promoted Trump's hard-line immigration policies, won the Republican nomination for governor in late July. He won late endorsements from President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump: I hope voters pay attention to Dem tactics amid Kavanaugh fight South Korea leader: North Korea agrees to take steps toward denuclearization Graham calls handling of Kavanaugh allegations 'a drive-by shooting' MORE and Vice President Pence.

Still, losses from other Trump-backed candidates like Pennsylvania Republican state Rep. Rick Saccone, and Alabama Republicans Luther StrangeLuther Johnson StrangeAnn Coulter believes Kushner wrote anonymous op-ed bashing Trump Mulvaney: Trump regularly asks why Roy Moore lost The Hill's Morning Report — General election season underway with marquee Senate races set MORE and Roy MooreRoy Stewart MooreCorey Stewart fires aide who helped bring far-right ideas to campaign: report #MeToo era shows there's almost never only one accuser, says Hill.TV's Krystal Ball Dem senator: 'Not a good practice' for anonymous misconduct allegation to halt Kavanaugh nomination MORE, suggest that platforms that align with the president and his policies aren't fail-proof.

Murphy said he is wary of a strategy in which Republicans seek to tie themselves to the president, but noted Republican politics are now "all Trump all the time."

"It’s like the Stalin trials now," he said, seemingly referring to the Moscow trials against opponents of former Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin. "If you wore the collectivist tie, you're out of order." 

"It is the new reality of the Republican primary," Murphy said.

While Trump has record approval ratings among Republicans, his approval rating overall has wavered since taking office, according to Gallup polling data