Senator Tim Scott has never been seen as a complete MAGA loyalist. On January 6, he voted against the challenges to the electoral votes of Arizona and Pennsylvania. Yet, he received President Trump’s endorsement for re-election to the United States Senate. While in some ways, it seems to be a very odd move (Scott did back Rubio strongly in the 2016 Republican presidential primaries). In other ways, it represents a sign that Trump is working to cement the MAGA coalition’s control of the Republican Party.

When taken in context, this is not as surprising as it should be. Trump met with Senator Lindsey Graham, who also represents South Carolina, the weekend prior to the 2021 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) to discuss the future of the Republican Party. Graham, widely seen as a close ally of John McCain (and backed Rubio in 2016), was a very welcome guest at Mar-a-Lago. Again. Graham and Trump didn’t see eye-to-eye on every issue. So, what is up with the rapprochement between Trump and Graham?

Part of it has been that the Lindsey Graham of 2021 is not the Lindsey Graham, who was often derisively nicknamed “Grahamnesty.” Graham has emerged as a tough fighter against the Left, who may not have aligned 100 percent with Trump on policy matters (Graham is more interventionist than is comfortable for the MAGA coalition), but there seems to be a sense of mutual respect, if not trust between Graham and Trump.

Much of it appears to stem from judicial nominations. Graham was chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee in the 116th Congress and moved through the Amy Coney Barrett nomination in late 2020. Scott was supportive of all three of Trump’s Supreme Court nominees and just about every one of his appellate court nominees. They were supportive of Trump on other fronts, too: In the Senate impeachment trials, both Graham and Scott voted to acquit both times. Scott’s enterprise zone provision was included in the 2017 tax cut Trump signed.

Both South Carolina senators have fared better in this sense than Nikki Haley, the former South Carolina governor who served as UN Ambassador for two years. Part of it could stem from Haley’s apparent presidential ambitions – her time as UN Ambassador does give her some substantial foreign policy experience to add to a decent run as governor. But part could stem from her comments seen as slamming Trump.

But there is something else binding Trump to Graham and Scott, as well: Mutual interest. The two senators from South Carolina and former President Trump each need something from the other. Trump has gained immense popularity with the Republican base, particularly the primary voters and those who make small donations. These are the people who can provide a massive boost when it comes to getting out the vote. As Georgia shows when the base isn’t motivated, Republicans are in big trouble.

But Graham and Scott provide Trump with something just as important: They can help reduce the losses – or even win back – some of those who defected to Joe Biden in the 2020 election. The fact of the matter is that Trump’s style probably did play a role in that election being close enough for the Left to “fortify” the election.

Why stopping that bleeding is important can be seen in some encouraging trends that emerged during the 2020 election. These have been overshadowed by Trump’s personality and the drama he creates. In an interview posted at NYMag.com, David Shor outlined how the Democrats are in deep trouble in maintaining their coalition.

“What happened in 2020 is that nonwhite conservatives voted for Republicans at higher rates; they started voting more like white conservatives,” Shor explained. He pointed out that Democrats have often relied upon securing 90 percent of black voters and 70 percent of Hispanic voters. Even in his 2020 election loss, Trump gained support among black and Hispanic voters, and Shor outlined how many of the latter were turned off by the support of socialism by many prominent Democratic politicians, like Representative Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez, and calls to defund police.

The big question that could determine the restoration of election integrity and move the government towards its constitutional boundaries is whether Republicans can hold their coalition together while adding these potential defectors from the Left. While Trump can help bring the working-class voters in, he needs the support – of at least the non-opposition – from many other Republican party leaders, especially among donors, pundit, and statewide officeholders. This is where Graham comes in as an ambassador to help repair the relationships that fractured during Trump’s efforts to contest the unfair 2020 election.

The big question that could determine the restoration of election integrity and move the government towards its constitutional boundaries is whether Republicans can hold their coalition together while adding these potential defectors from the Left. While Trump can help bring the working-class voters in, he needs the support – of at least the non-opposition – from many other Republican party leaders, especially among donors, pundit, and statewide officeholders. This is where Graham comes in as an ambassador to help repair the relationships that fractured during Trump’s efforts to contest the unfair 2020 election.