Friday, August 19, 2016
Is Trump the Rock that will sink the GOP?
Many of us are certainly fervently praying for that to be true. And many Republicans are hoping it will never happen. But their dilemma revolves around their inability to do anything about The Great Orange Fungus that won't do the same thing.
Donald J. Trump’s struggling candidacy has now become a direct threat to Republican control of Congress, significantly increasing the likelihood that Democrats will take control of the Senate and cut substantially into the House Republican majority next year.Can those poor GOP candidates put any distance between them and their Doom? Will it make any difference? With Trump already bleeding support from his base the situation is unique enough that no one can predict where the voters will end up.
Mr. Trump’s string of inflammatory statements in the weeks since his nominating convention last month has sent him tumbling in nearly every state with a contested Senate race, raising Republican fears that their own demoralized voters will not show up to vote, independents will abandon the entire Republican ticket and energized Democrats will flock to the polls.
While Republicans anticipate that their down-ballot candidates will be able to outpace Mr. Trump’s share of the vote, national and local party officials and strategists are increasingly concerned that he is in danger of being so soundly defeated that even their best-prepared candidates will not be able to withstand the backlash to the top of the ticket.
“People are getting pretty nervous about our candidates because he’s in a death spiral here and nobody knows where the bottom is at,” said Senator Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican who is close to many of his colleagues facing re-election.
Mr. Trump’s move this week to overhaul his campaign by hiring the head of a conservative website known for its incendiary writings on race and ethnic identity only heightened Republican concerns about Mr. Trump’s impact on moderate voters. If he devotes the rest of his campaign to a platform of hard-edge nationalism, strategists said, it could further turn off the suburban centrists Senate Republicans need in their column.
While there is still time for the dynamics of the campaign to shift, what worries Republicans most acutely is Mr. Trump’s eroding position in three states that alone could determine control of the Senate: Pennsylvania, New Hampshire and North Carolina. Hillary Clinton has staked out a clear advantage in each state in public polling, and private surveys by pro-Republican groups mirror the trend, according to multiple officials tracking the campaigns.
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