Whether one is concerned about current polling in swing states, the great superiority of Clinton’s ground game, or just the ongoing stream of unforced Trump errors, it is worth understanding what positive things Republican activists can do in this election season. In this election, perhaps more than any other in recent times, it is necessary for Republican Party members to forget the presidency and focus on the legislative branch of government.
First: The House
– Republicans control 247 seats to the Democrats’ 188. No reputable analyst believes that the Democrats – who continue to keep Nancy Pelosi as their face in the House – have a chance to pick up anywhere near the 30 seats needed to flip the chamber. Democrats attribute this to gerrymandering after the 2010 census; the reality is that the Voting Rights Act of 1965 requires that districts be designed to respect the integrity of ethnic groups. Since African American inner city districts are 90% plus Democratic while suburban and rural districts contain a broader mix of demographics, the mathematics actually tilts in favor of having more marginally-Republican districts.
– After the fratricide between the Freedom Caucus and John Boehner, Paul Ryan has pretty firm control of the House and he is in the process of rolling out a comprehensive set of policy positions. With a President Trump, he would lead the most effective period of conservative legislation in memory; with a President Clinton he would be in a position to prevent a repeat of President Obama’s first two years when a Democratic majority House gave us Obamacare, trillion dollar deficits, and billions of “stimulus dollars” sent to companies owned by Democratic supporters. There is disagreement on the Right about the wisdom of shutting down the government to restore the balance of power between the executive and the legislative branches, but the question was moot with a Democratic House.
– What can you do to help? For a contributor, the easiest avenue is your Representative (if they need help), the National Republican Campaign Committee, or leaders like Ryan and Kevin McCarthy who receive contributions and distribute them to members needing the help.
Second: The Senate
– Republicans control 54 of the 100 seats, with at least 6 at risk and only one good chance of a pick up. It is unlikely to happen, but a donor should ask whether a Republican candidate would support a replacement of Mitch McConnell who has allowed President Obama to position the Iran Nuclear agreement and the Paris Climate Changeagreement as not being treaties which required Senate approval, and who has not devised conservative legislative strategies with John Boehner and Paul Ryan.
– In approximate order of urgency, the following Senators need help – money; phone bankers; precinct walkers; encouragement of voters in their states. All except the first are in presidential swing states, and will need to navigate the heavy spending and campaigning as well as the association with the top of the ticket.
— Ron Johnson of Wisconsin. This seat may also be beyond saving with virtually all polls showing former Senator Russ Feingold ahead.
— Pat Twomey of Pennsylvania. Donald Trump will hurt Twomey in eastern Pennsylvania, but he will help in the center and west if his supporters come to the polls. Most rate it a toss-up.
— Marco Rubio of Florida. Rubio is reconsidering his commitment not to run as the June 24 filing deadline approaches. His star has tarnished as he took on Jeb Bush and lost to Trump, but he would probably be a slight favorite in a state that will again be a focal point.
— Rob Portman of Ohio. Portman leads former Governor Ted Strickland but this race will go to the end, and will be intertwined with the presidential race in the key swing state with the coal country in the southern part of the state being a Trump stronghold.
— Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire. Ayotte is a few points ahead of popular Democratic governor Maggie Hassan, but is buffeted by the Donald’s pronouncements which go against the New England grain.
– Joe Heck of Nevada – congressman, brigadier general, surgeon – stands a good chance of picking up Harry Reid’s seat, having cleared the field of Sharon Angle as he takes on former state Attorney General Catherine Cortes Masto.
Much will be written about the Senate, and a bit less about the House. For those interested in knowledgeable, “informed partisan” analysis, Stu Rothenberg does a good job from the Republican side, and Charlie Cook does the same from the Democratic side. Real Clear Politics is always a good “go to” site for in-depth polling data.
For many of us, the party of Lincoln has been temporarily hijacked. But it is still the party most reflective of the principles of liberty, opportunity, and personal responsibility which have made the United States the greatest nation on earth. It will survive a Trump or Clinton presidency if the Republicans hold the House and the Senate. Think positive.
This week’s bonus is a short clip of Jackie Gleason’s response to Donald Trump.
bill bowen – 6/17/16