Search This Blog

Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Blue Tides and Blank Checks

House Republicans, implicitly conceding Bob Dole's defeat in the Presidential race, are undertaking a television advertising campaign to argue that a Republican Congress is needed to deny President Clinton ''a blank check.''

The National Republican Congressional Committee plans to spend about $4 million in 50 tough House districts on a spot reminding voters of what Mr. Clinton and the Democrats did or tried to do in 1993 and 1994, before the Republicans took control of Congress.

The advertisement begins with an announcer saying: ''What would happen if the Democrats controlled Congress and the White House? Been there, done that.'' Then it shows newspaper headlines from 1993 and 1994 involving Mr. Clinton and taxes, health care and waste in Washington.

While the picture on the screen shows men around a table with money on it, the announcer says, ''The liberal special interests, aligned with Clinton, desperately want to buy back control of Congress.''

The decision to run this advertisement followed moves earlier in the week to have field operatives from the national committee tell embattled candidates that they should effectively write off Mr. Dole's chances in their own campaigns and urge voters to send them and other Republicans back as a check on Mr. Clinton.


(Also see p. 126 of Losing to Win.)

Republicans are again playing the "blank check" card ... against a Clinton. Alex Isenstadt reports at Politico:
Republicans, desperate to salvage their congressional majorities amid Donald Trump’s collapse, are increasingly presenting themselves as checks on a Hillary Clinton presidency – a final argument that, if only implicitly, concedes the White House to Democrats.
The offensive, which has been under discussion for months and is only now being unleashed, is designed to win over voters who want to see Clinton’s powers curtailed – even as she closes in on a potentially sweeping national victory.
The message is taking different forms in different parts of the country. In Minnesota’s Iron Range, Republican Stewart Mills has begun airing a TV commercial that says his opponent, Democratic Rep. Rick Nolan, is “standing with Hillary Clinton, not Minnesota families.” Nolan, the ad says, “would give Hillary a blank check to run up trillions in new debt and job-destroying taxes.”
In upstate New York, the National Republican Congressional Committee has been running a TV ad that says a Democratic candidate, Kim Myers, would “fast-track” Clinton’s agenda in the House. It urges voters to support Republican Claudia Tenney – who will “stand up to Hillary Clinton.” Another spot warns that Myers and an independent candidate, Martin Babinec, would “rubber-stamp Hillary Clinton’s agenda in Congress.”
Republican Sen. John McCain, facing the toughest reelection fight of his political career, is taking a similar approach. Following his primary victory, McCain released a face-to-camera video in which he called his Democratic opponent, Ann Kirkpatrick, a “good person,” but added: “If Hillary Clinton is elected president, Arizona will need a senator who will act as a check, not a rubber stamp, for the White House.”
At The Cook Political Report, Jennifer Duffy writes:
Senate Republicans had been doing a pretty solid job of maintaining their distance from GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump by running their own campaign that focused largely on more local issues or those issues that motivate their base. The strategy was working fine and it looked as if Republicans would be able to keep their losses low. That is until October 7 when The Washington Post reported on the existence of the Access Hollywood tape in which Trump described sexually assaulting women. Then things started to unravel, albeit slowly.
...

History shows that races in the Toss Up column never split down the middle; one party tends to win the lion’s share of them. Since 1998, no party has won less than 67 percent of the seats in Toss Up. While the 2016 election has broken every political science rule and trend, we’d be surprised if this becomes one of them.
S