In Defying the Odds, we discuss congressional elections as well as the presidential race. In 2020, Senate Democrats are trying to leverage the Supreme Court fight and Obamacare.
Trump's COVID behavior is hurting GOP prospects.
South Carolina Democrat Jaime Harrison raised a staggering $57 million in the third quarter of this year, shattering the previous record for a Senate candidate as he seeks to unseat GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham.
The haul only increases Harrison's massive financial advantage over Graham, who is seeking a fourth term in the Senate and facing the most competitive reelection race of his career.
[B]adly trailing in the polls and marred by increasingly erratic, self-sabotaging behavior — there are signs that some Republicans are beginning to distance themselves from Trump in a desperate attempt to avoid political doom.
The unlikely canary in the coal mine came in the form of Arizona Sen. Martha McSally — typically a Trump sycophant — who avoided answering several direct questions on whether she was proud of her support for the President during her debate against Democratic challenger Mark Kelly. Instead, she robotically repeated that she was "proud to be fighting for Arizona."
It's not just an Arizona problem. In Texas, polls show a surprisingly tight race between Trump and Biden. Perhaps not coincidentally, Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn — running for a fourth term against combat veteran M.J. Hegar — notably dared to criticize Trump last week, saying that the President "let his guard down" and stirred "confusion" with his chaotic response to the coronavirus pandemic.
"I think the biggest mistake people make in public life is not telling the truth," he said, "particularly in something with as much public interest as here because you know the real story is going to come out."
In Iowa — a state that voted for Trump by a margin of almost 10 points in 2016 — Republican Sen. Joni Ernst is down 5% to her Democratic challenger Theresa Greenfield.
In Colorado, Republican Sen. Cory Gardner has been trailing former Gov. John Hickenlooper for the duration of the race. In Maine, self-styled moderate Republican Sen. Susan Collins — who refused to even vote for witnesses during the Trump impeachment trial — finds herself staring at the end of a quarter-century career.
Legendary Republican campaign strategist Ed Rollins, who is the chair of the pro-Donald Trump Great America PAC, told me "I'm afraid the race is over." Rollins said that he "would definitely recommend that candidates make the case for their own reelection, and when asked about President Trump they should say 'I support him when it's in the interest of my state, North Carolina, Arizona — and oppose him when it's not in the interest of our state. My job to support the people of our state.'"
In North Carolina, a sex scandal may have hurt Democratic challenger Cal Cunningham, Politico reports. But Thom Tillis made a Madisonian pitch:
If Tillis can mount a stunning comeback, Republicans hope he can save their majority — even if Joe Biden defeats Trump. And though the first-term Republican still sees a path for Trump to win and said nothing critical of the president, he also indicated he’s running as a check on a potential President Biden.
“The best check on a Biden presidency is for Republicans to have a majority in the Senate. And I do think 'checks and balances' does resonate with North Carolina voters,” he said.
Republicans made the same pitch in 1996, when it was clear that Clinton would win.
GOP problem 1: public opinion has shifted against divided government. Jeffrey M. Jones at Gallup: -
A new high of 41% of U.S. adults say it is better to have a president and Congress from the same political party. Twenty-three percent would rather have one party control the presidency and the other control Congress, while 32% say it makes no difference to them.
GOP problem 2: The confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett would effectively make the Supreme Court a Republican body. Democrats will argue for control of the White House and the Senate as a check on the judiciary.