On the campaign trail leading to November, Republicans have some obvious footholds: Trump’s triumphant nomination of a conservative Supreme Court candidate (the Left’s fierce and preposterous reaction to which can be seen here and here) and Democrats’ effort to abolish Immigration and Customs Enforcement (as seen in the video here).
That, on top of the Mueller investigation, the tale of which seems like the basis for this movie:
So how will candidates fair on the road to electoral rubber? Will they bounce back from Trump gaffe?
Despite the fact that Republicans are trying to distance themselves from Trump (as covered here), some strategists say the GOP will not detach themselves from the President unless the Helsinki goof rocks his approval rating to abysmal numbers.
Take strategist Doug Heye’s word for it. Or don’t:
“Of course, there are concerns. But ultimately, Republican voters will determine how Republican politicians react. … If his numbers stay where they are, there is no reason to think that any members will break with Trump. They may put out yet another ‘strongly worded statement,’ but there will not be any real fallout, and members will just hope we’re talking about something else soon.”
As I wrote previously, those in the Senate with an “R” next to their name have scooted a ways down the bench from Trump’s statement. But moving away from ideas is different than truly denouncing the President. A fine line is notedly being walked.
Arizona Rep. Martha McSally toed the line to this tune Tuesday:
“President Trump has worked with Congress to impose stiff sanctions, expelled Russian diplomats, and led an effort with our NATO partners to strengthen our defenses against Russian aggression. … We need to continue to deal with Russia from a position of strength. However, I do wish the President’s words on Putin today were as strong as his actions.”
John McCain — not a big fan of The Donald — sort of eschewed any toeing for a broad jump worthy of the Olympics:
“No prior president has ever abased himself more abjectly before a tyrant. … Not only did President Trump fail to speak the truth about an adversary; but speaking for America to the world, our president failed to defend all that makes us who we are—a republic of free people dedicated to the cause of liberty at home and abroad. American presidents must be the champions of that cause if it is to succeed. Americans are waiting and hoping for President Trump to embrace that sacred responsibility. One can only hope they are not waiting totally in vain.”
Dr. Kelli Ward, former senator from Arizona, has praised Trump in spite of his ball-drop:
“During the 2016 election, @realDonaldTrump promised the American people he would mend Washington’s icy relationship with Moscow & keep the U.S. out of foreign wars. Ignore the #TrumpDerangementSyndrome crowd – he’s keeping his promise & more importantly he’s keeping us safe.”
During the 2016 election, @realDonaldTrump promised the American people he would mend Washington’s icy relationship with Moscow & keep the U.S. out of foreign wars. Ignore the #TrumpDerangementSyndrome crowd – he’s keeping his promise & more importantly he’s keeping us safe.
— Dr. Kelli Ward 🇺🇸 (@kelliwardaz) July 17, 2018
Similar support has come from Kevin Nicholson and Leah Vukmir of Wisconsin — both running for Senate — who released statements praising Trump for his meet-up with Vladimir.
Rep. Dana Rohrabacher may be especially concerned about November: in the past, he has been viewed as uncommonly pro-Russia. Not a good time for that.
Rep. Devin Nunes, who gaveled the “no” to Adam Schiff’s attempt to subpoena the interpreter from the Helsinki summit (which I covered here), has championed Trump throughout the Russia investigation.
Of course, Democrats are coming out a-blazin’: candidate Beto O’Rourke, of Texas, who intends to squash incumbent Sen. Ted Cruz, has called for impeachment.
It’s a tough race; Democrats who say too much could find themselves on the wrong end of things in areas that Trump won in 2016, even as this pretty much encapsulates Trump’s attempt Monday at Olympic-level political greatness:
At the end of the day, of course, all will be determined by the perception of the voter.
Purely anecdotally, consider this post I saw today, on social media, which I’ve paraphrased to protect its author:
“Shame on Congress. Shame on Donald Trump. Shame on Sarah Sanders. Shame on Bob Corker. And Devin Nunes.
Where are the patriots? Why are they allowing this? What do they have to hide? Why are they obscuring the truth?
I can’t believe this is happening in the United States. We still have the ability to rise up and preserve democracy. We must write to Congress and tell them we will vote against them unless they act like Americans.”
This was in response to the rejection of Adam Schiff’s inappropriately-placed request to subpoena the Helsinki translator. Written by someone who, for the most part — so far as I can tell — gets their news from CNN, MSNBC, and NPR. How many others are like them?
I suppose we’ll find out. In less than four months.
What do you predict? How do you see this playing out in the House and Senate? On one hand, the situation could cause problems for the GOP. On the other, our news cycle only lasts 17 minutes. In fact, by the time you read this, there’s a chance you won’t even remember what I’m talking about. We’ll be several cycles down the meaningless road.
For something totally different, please consider my pieces on white man Joe Scarborough’s condescension toward white men, Episcopalians’ consideration of changing God’s sex, and Rob Reiner and his wife’s opinion of you.
Find all my RedState work here.