This is a disaster in the making, and one the RNC brought on itself by not using every available avenue early on, in order to derail the inevitable Trump implosion.
McConnell is telling vulnerable GOP senators to focus on their own states and races and avoid getting swept up in the controversy swirling around Trump, GOP sources say.
“We’re advising the same thing we have all along. Run your own race. That has put us in the good position that we’re in overall. Everybody is listening to people in their state,” said a Senate GOP aide.
With early voting already open in many states and Hillary Clinton sprinting past Trump to a double digit lead in most polls, the fear is that having that “R” as a common link between Trump and candidates battling for position in down ballot races may be more of a factor in whether those candidates are victorious, than their actual records.
In other words, the majority held by Republicans in the House, as well as gubernatorial races may be threatened by association.
The party strategy that should begin and end with defeating Democrats has been tripped up by allowing Trump to grab the top spot, and rather than find a working way free, they’ve only entangled themselves more.
Several Senators, such as Rob Portman and Kelly Ayotte have already condemned Trump for the 2005 hot mic comments, where he basically bragged about sexual assault.
Some, such as Senator Ted Cruz, reserved any comment until days after the news broke, then reaffirmed their support.
An NBC poll indicates that, at this point, the public is beginning to trust Democrats more than Republicans with leading the House.
It found that 49 percent of voters favor a Democrat-controlled Congress while 42 percent want the GOP in charge, a seven-point advantage for Democrats on the so-called generic ballot question. Democrats had only a 3-point advantage in mid September.
Republicans are more worried about Trump costing them control of the Senate, where the party is defending 24 seats to the Democrats’ 10. If Democrats pick up four seats and Clinton wins the White House, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D) of New York would be majority leader next year.
Women and college-educated white voters tend to be those most repulsed by Trump and his poison rhetoric.
Having Trump as the head of the ticket makes it near-impossible for Republicans to claim the high ground on issues of tolerance, or even decency.
“What will it take for Republicans to walk away from Trump?” Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid (Nev.) asked. “What is it going to take for Republicans to discover event he barest modicum of decency and respect?”
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) told CNN Sunday night that “there’s not a dime’s worth of difference” between Trump and congressional Republicans when it comes to policy and tolerating intolerance.
This is Reid and Pelosi, so their statements are to be viewed through the prism of extreme partisanship.
Still, they have a point. There is no way to strain anything resembling virtue from Trump’s more divisive statements, and certainly not from his remarks about women and the “privilege” he feels is afforded to men of star-status to be sexual predators.
It’s a balancing act for Republican leaders seeking reelection in November. Do they gamble that a stand on principle and decency will gain them enough respect from voters to win, or do they stand with the raging Trumpster cult, who have shown little to no concern for preserving the down ballot, and an absolute willingness to destroy any who are not Trump-faithful?
It’s a harsh situation, but one that should have been averted earlier.