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Trump's once dominant hold over politics has faded a year after leaving office

First Read is your briefing from "Meet the Press" and the NBC Political Unit on the day's most important political stories and why they matter.
Image: Donald Trump speaking to supporters during a rally.
Donald Trump speaking to supporters during a rally on Oct. 31, 2020 in Montoursville, Pennsylvania.Eduardo Munoz Alvarez / Getty Images

WASHINGTON — If it’s Monday ... President Biden meets with the nation’s governors. ... Biden’s considering more than a dozen Supreme Court candidates, per NBC News. ... NBC News also reports on tensions inside the DNC. ... Val Demings rakes in more than $7 million for the quarter in Florida Senate. ... And Donald Trump says the quiet part out loud.

But first: There are two ways to look at Trump’s last year after being removed from Twitter and from the daily political spotlight.

One, it’s weakened Trump’s siren’s call with Republicans. Just look at our most recent NBC News poll, which shows the share of Republicans who consider themselves more Trump supporters than party supporters declining over the past year.

And the drop has been pretty much across the board.

Two, Trump’s daily — if not hourly — disappearance from the political spotlight has hurt Biden (who now gets compared more to The Almighty rather than to The Alternative) and Democrats (who spent five years using Trump’s tweets and actions as fodder to fire up their voters).

Just consider Trump’s latest controversial statement below. Does anyone doubt that it would have dominated the day’s political conversation had he tweeted it out — instead of getting screen-grabbed by reporters?

Make no mistake: Trump still remains the greatest singular force in the GOP; Democrats still will use him to fire up their voters, especially if he runs in ’24; and he can still generate headlines.

Like this one from over the weekend: “Trump suggests he might pardon Jan. 6 defendants if he returns to White House.”

But those headlines don't pack the punch they once did.

Tweet of the day

Data Download: The number of the day is … 13

That’s the number of candidates who NBC News can report are being considered for the upcoming Supreme Court vacancy, with the list of potential candidates swelling to at least 13, per NBC’s Josh Lederman and Carol Lee.

Lederman and Lee say that Biden is casting a wide net, and that there isn’t a short list yet to replace retiring Justice Stephen Breyer, although Biden pledged during his campaign to nominate the first Black woman to the court.

While the White House has confirmed that U.S. District Court Judge J. Michelle Childs is being considered, Lederman and Lee are also reporting others being considered, too. They include D.C. Circuit Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, Judge Candace Jackson-Akiwumi of the Seventh Circuit, outgoing NAACP Legal Defense Fund President Sherrilyn Ifill and North Carolina Supreme Court Justice Anita Earls.

Other numbers you need to know today:

$1.57 million: How much West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin, who isn’t up for re-election until 2024, raised during the fourth quarter of 2021, per the FEC.

$7.1 million: How much Florida Democratic Rep. Val Demings says her Senate campaign raised in the fourth quarter of 2021, closing the year with $8.1 million on hand.

More than $1 million: The amount Wyoming Republican Harriet Hageman announced raising in her primary race against Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo.

3: The number of seats Democrats could gain in New York under a new map proposed by party leaders.

14 percent: The average increase in rent last year in America, according to a Redfin analysis discussed in the Washington Post.

Midterm roundup

There is a “strained relationship” between the DNC and the White House as the party heads into a difficult midterm election, NBC’s Natasha Korecki, Jonathan Allen and Lauren Egan report. DNC Chairman Jaime Harrison, who considered leaving his post, pushed back on his critics, writing on Twitter, "To unnamed sources, if you expect me to go away or roll into a ball and whimper…you picked the wrong one."

Meanwhile, the White House is trying to assuage concerns about its midterm messaging. NBC’s Peter Nicholas, Carol E. Lee and Mike Memoli obtained part of a recording of a Zoom call with donors where White House counselor Steve Ricchetti said Biden plans to hit the campaign trail and tout the administration’s accomplishments.

For their part, Republican leaders are divided over whether the party should unveil a policy agenda before November’s elections, Nicholas also reports. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell wants to leave the focus on Democrats, while House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy is crafting an agenda to win over voters.

Michigan Republican John James, the party’s nominee in each of the last two Senate races, announced Monday he's running for the newly-drawn 10th District.

Republican Chuck Morse, president of the New Hampshire state Senate, officially launched his campaign against Democratic Sen. Maggie Hassan on Saturday, riding to his launch event in a “skid-steer loader,” per WMUR.

Members of the Pennsylvania Democratic Party failed to endorse a candidate in the Senate primary Saturday, although Conor Lamb got the most votes. Committee members did endorse Attorney General Josh Shapiro for governor.

Rep. Marcy Kaptur said she will not be joining the scores of fellow House Democrats who are retiring. Kaptur, the longest-serving woman in House history, is running for re-election regardless of Ohio’s new congressional map, NBC’s Henry Gomez reports.

Rep. Madison Cawthorn, R-N.C., endorsed Blake Masters, a Peter Thiel associate, in Arizona’s Senate primary.

ICYMI: What else is happening in the world

The West is warning Russia it could face the “mother of all sanctions” as a response to any action it takes against Ukraine.

Democrats are considering replacing Iowa’s as the first-in-the-nation caucus spot for upcoming presidential elections, Politico reports.

NBC News’ Allan Smith explores Sen. Ted Cruz’s presidential ambitions and what it would take for him to run in 2024.