How Will Trump Affect a Vulnerable GOP Senate?

 

TrumpLet’s imagine for a moment that Harry Reid lost his 2010 reelection bid. He wouldn’t have been the Majority Leader who effectively dismantled the US Senate. He couldn’t have protected the boundary-breaking Obama Administration. He wouldn’t have enabled Obama’s agenda, nor could he have shielded the President from dangerous bills that would have forced White House vetoes, humiliating Democrats. Obama would have been hamstrung, unable to fulfill his campaign promise to fundamentally transform the United States.

Maddeningly, Harry Reid was very beatable in 2010. Nevadans disdain Reid, a backwater politico who used his elected offices to gorge on the taxpayer teat, enriching himself and his family. Nevada’s conservative primary voters elected Tea Party darling Sharron Angle to run against the highly unpopular Reid. Barely known beyond Silver State political circles, Angle was a disastrous candidate and the best thing to happen to MSNBC since the divine comedy of Keith Olbermann.

Angle’s daily “misstatements” were stunning, if only for her total lack of media savvy. For example, she intimated that “Second Amendment remedies” might ensue if “Congress keeps going the way it is.” The comment, worthy of a drunken redneck bar rant, was chopped, spliced, and replayed ad nauseam every night in the mainstream media. Giddy journalists reprinted her bipolar ramblings with glee.

Before the Angle debacle, Reid was not supposed to have won that election. He was so loathed that even running against a disastrous candidate, he barely eked out victory. The rest is history. Thanks to Nevada’s primary voters, America is worse off – because they preferred the purity of a Tea Party candidate who had no business being on the national stage.

Republicans now hold a 54-46 majority in the Senate. In 2016, they will have to defend 24 seats. Democrats must only defend ten. Democrats will be working overtime to win four or five seats. (The vice-president votes in a tie, so the number they need for a majority depends who wins the White House.) Lower-turnout midterms tend to be Republican-friendly, but in a presidential election cycle, Democrats tend to gain larger turnouts by scaring minorities, youths, and single women into the voting booth. Their winning causam? Female genitalia in the Oval Office (assuming Hillary will still be the nominee).

Democrats are already using this tired game plan, focusing on identity issues including “the war on women.” Taxpayer-funded Planned Parenthood has begun launching ads against vulnerable GOP Senators:

The ads will run in the home states of Sens. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), all of whom face tough reelection races next year.

GOP campaigns play it safe, always playing defense. When a candidate — including the predictably unpredictable Trump — starts making speeches about gender issues, he’s playing on the opponent’s turf. After first saying he supported defunding Planned Parenthood, he is now placating Planned Parenthood.

I’m not a political consultant, just a voter, but if there’s one thing we’ve learned so far in this election cycle, it’s that voters respond to straight talk. Don’t placate special interest groups: It looks like you’re pandering. Just speak from the heart, ensure your ad dollars convey your conservative vision, and tell us why the country needs it.

This summer’s stunning Trump insurgency may not last into the autumn of 2016, when most voters start to make their decisions. But Trump’s addition to the voting equation has made an already perilous GOP campaign cycle completely unpredictable.

Will his name on the ballot hurt or help the GOP undercard?

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  1. Mate De Inactive
    Mate De
    @MateDe

    David Sussman:Democrats are already using their tired game plan focusing on identity issues including “the war on women” narrative. Taxpayer funded Planned Parenthood is already launching ads against vulnerable GOP Senators. The ads will run in the home states of Sens. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), all of whom face tough reelection races next year.

     

    That strategy already backfired on the Democrats back in 2014 with the Mark Udall campaign. I think people are getting tired of the gotcha questions and I think gravitate to Trump because he tells it like it is, in all its politically incorrect glory. Trump is showing the GOP how it’s done and the candidates are punching back. Look at what that kind of straight talk has done for Carly Fiorina or Ted Cruz’s numbers. It’s early days yet so we’ll see where Trump goes but I do think he’s paving the way to give the GOP the confidence to stand by conservative principles without the caveats

    • #1
  2. David Sussman Contributor
    David Sussman
    @DaveSussman

    Mate De: That strategy already backfired on the Democrats back in 2014 with the Mark Udall campaign. I think people are getting tired of the gotcha questions and I think gravitate to Trump because he tells it like it is, in all its politically incorrect glory. Trump is showing the GOP how it’s done and the candidates are punching back. Look at what that kind of straight talk has done for Carly Fiorina or Ted Cruz’s numbers. It’s early days yet so we’ll see where Trump goes but I do think he’s paving the way to give the GOP the confidence to stand by conservative principles without the caveats

    Agreed straight talk is great, but 2014 was a midterm where voters are generally more educated and less likely to fall for the identity politics.

    And to what of Trump’s waffling over PP? Will Conservatives stay home? How would that effect the Senate races?

    • #2
  3. Mate De Inactive
    Mate De
    @MateDe

    David Sussman:

    Agreed straight talk is great, but 2014 was a midterm where voters are generally more educated and less likely to fall for the identity politics.

    While I agree with on the difference between midterm voters and presidental year voters, I do think Trump is a game changer. He is appealing to all sorts of people who never paid attention before or just voted for the democrats because the Republican is mean. I commented on this on Peter’s post last week, a friend of mine who never paid attention to politics (and is an independent) is all in for Trump, she can’t stop talking about him and because of that, we were able to discuss these things and I’m bringing her around to understanding some of the problems with Trump’s policy ideas and perhaps she could look at the other candidates to see their ideas. Also her neighbors were also Trump fans (this is Connecticut not a bastion of conservatism) and I was also able to have a nice discussion with them and turned them towards some of the ideas of the other candidates.

    The  Planned Parenthood thing could be a problem for Trump with pro life conservatives (like me) but it is early and we’ll have to see how he plays that issue out

    • #3
  4. David Sussman Contributor
    David Sussman
    @DaveSussman

    Mate De:

    While I agree with on the difference between midterm voters and presidental year voters, I do think Trump is a game changer. He is appealing to all sorts of people who never paid attention before or just voted for the democrats because the Republican is mean. I commented on this on Peter’s post last week, a friend of mine who never paid attention to politics (and is an independent) is all in for Trump, she can’t stop talking about him and because of that, we were able to discuss these things and I’m bringing her around to understanding some of the problems with Trump’s policy ideas and perhaps she could look at the other candidates to see their ideas. Also her neighbors were also Trump fans (this is Connecticut not a bastion of conservatism) and I was also able to have a nice discussion with them and turned them towards some of the ideas of the other candidates.

    The Planned Parenthood thing could be a problem for Trump with pro life conservatives (like me) but it is early and we’ll have to see how he plays that issue out

    We talked about this on last weeks AMU. Trump is bringing people into the fold who may otherwise wouldn’t have ever voted. This is hopeful. But we also hear large numbers of Republicans who state they couldn’t vote for him. If they don’t show up to vote, whats that do the Senate?

    • #4
  5. 10 cents Member
    10 cents
    @

    There has to be a balance between straight talk and being media savvy. We don’t know what will happen but we do know we are getting ears and eyes for our message.

    • #5
  6. RightAngles Member
    RightAngles
    @RightAngles

    The Tea Party also cost us a senate seat in Indiana (Lugar). And who can forget Todd Akin. If we don’t circle the wagons, stop shooting inside the tent, and unify, we can kiss the country goodbye. We need someone who’s an alpha male like Trump, but who isn’t Greg Stillson from the Dead Zone.

    • #6
  7. Mate De Inactive
    Mate De
    @MateDe

    David Sussman:

    We talked about this on last weeks AMU. Trump is bringing people into the fold who may otherwise wouldn’t have ever voted. This is hopeful. But we also hear large numbers of Republicans who state they couldn’t vote for him. If they don’t show up to vote, whats that do the Senate?

    Who are these nihilistic Republicans who would rather the Democrats win, especially after the Obama adminstration, then a Republican to which they do not like? Trump isn’t my candidate but he’d make a much better president than Obama has been and definetly better than Hilary. I can’t stand when Republican’s declare that they’ll sit it out if they don’t get their way. It’s early, George Pataki hasn’t even dropped out yet. Can we see how this all pans out by the time the Iowa caucuses start at least before we toss the country away to the Democrats (ie socialists)?

    • #7
  8. David Sussman Contributor
    David Sussman
    @DaveSussman

    10 cents:There has to be a balance between straight talk and being media savvy. We don’t know what will happen but we do know we are getting ears and eyes for our message.

    It’s the only reason I’m enjoying Trump. And the answer to Maximus is a resounding Yes!

    https://youtu.be/FsqJFIJ5lLs

    • #8
  9. Mate De Inactive
    Mate De
    @MateDe

    RightAngles:The Tea Party also cost us a senate seat in Indiana (Lugar). And who can forget Todd Akin.

    The Tea Party gave us Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Mike Lee and Rand Paul.

    And Todd Akin was a gift from Claire McCaskill

    • #9
  10. David Sussman Contributor
    David Sussman
    @DaveSussman

    RightAngles:The Tea Party also cost us a senate seat in Indiana (Lugar). And who can forget Todd Akin. If we don’t circle the wagons, stop shooting inside the tent, and unify, we can kiss the country goodbye. We need someone who’s an alpha male like Trump, but who isn’t Greg Stillson from the Dead Zone.

    Loved that movie.

    Don’t get me wrong… I have no quarrel with the Tea Party, but we must use some basic common sense when selecting our candidates. Trump is a circus which 15 months before an election, may get old quick… but we have been saying that all Summer. We are in uncharted waters.

    • #10
  11. Petty Boozswha Inactive
    Petty Boozswha
    @PettyBoozswha

    Has anybody heard about Joe Scarborough running as an R in Connecticut? His picture could replace David Frum’s next to RINO in the dictionary, but he’d be better than Blumenthal.

    • #11
  12. David Sussman Contributor
    David Sussman
    @DaveSussman

    Petty Boozswha:Has anybody heard about Joe Scarborough running as an R in Connecticut? His picture could replace David Frum’s next to RINO in the dictionary, but he’d be better than Blumenthal.

    I liked him when he was a FL panhandle Congressman part of Newt’s Contract with America. I don’t watch his show/channel so couldn’t tell you his current politics.

    • #12
  13. Xennady Member
    Xennady
    @

    RightAngles:The Tea Party also cost us a senate seat in Indiana (Lugar). And who can forget Todd Akin. If we don’t circle the wagons, stop shooting inside the tent, and unify, we can kiss the country goodbye. We need someone who’s an alpha male like Trump, but who isn’t Greg Stillson from the Dead Zone.

    Wait, what? The Tea Party cost the GOP a senate seat?

    I disagree. And one way you can circle the wagons and stop shooting inside the tent is to stop blaming the “Tea Party” when Republican candidates loose.

    Mourdock beat Lugar in the primary, then asked for support from Lugar. He didn’t get it.

    This is typical behavior from the GOP- and one of the many reasons why Trump is doing so well.

    • #13
  14. Xennady Member
    Xennady
    @

    Mate De:Who are these nihilistic Republicans who would rather the Democrats win,

    Well, one of them was former Senator Dick Lugar, who wouldn’t support the man who beat him in the primary, and then later was giving money to democrat senate candidates.

    No one can blame the Tea Party for that…

    • #14
  15. Mate De Inactive
    Mate De
    @MateDe

    Scarborough is running for office in Connecticut, he actually would be a vast improvement on who we have now. Connecticut really is in a sad state

    • #15
  16. RightAngles Member
    RightAngles
    @RightAngles

    Mourdock blew it, and we would have had that seat if the Tea Party hadn’t meddled. It was just more shooting inside the tent. “Life is that gift from God that I think even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen.”  Way to go.

    • #16
  17. David Sussman Contributor
    David Sussman
    @DaveSussman

    Xennady:

    RightAngles:The Tea Party also cost us a senate seat in Indiana (Lugar). And who can forget Todd Akin. If we don’t circle the wagons, stop shooting inside the tent, and unify, we can kiss the country goodbye. We need someone who’s an alpha male like Trump, but who isn’t Greg Stillson from the Dead Zone.

    Wait, what? The Tea Party cost the GOP a senate seat?

    I disagree. And one way you can circle the wagons and stop shooting inside the tent is to stop blaming the “Tea Party” when Republican candidates loose.

    Mourdock beat Lugar in the primary, then asked for support from Lugar. He didn’t get it.

    This is typical behavior from the GOP- and one of the many reasons why Trump is doing so well.

    So any Tea Party candidate is worthy of office?

    • #17
  18. Xennady Member
    Xennady
    @

    RightAngles:Mourdock blew it, and we would have had that seat if the Tea Party hadn’t meddled. It was just more shooting inside the tent. “Life is that gift from God that I think even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen.” Way to go.

    Obviously Mourdock blew it.

    How did the Tea Party meddle? By voting for the guy who challenged Lugar and beat him in the primary? Is it now wrong for American to “meddle” in the political affairs of the country by voting for people who aren’t of the establishment, or who the establishment doesn’t like?

    I remind that you Lugar spent some of his last days in office shepherding Obama’s idiotic arms control treaty with Russia through the Senate, while not bothering to have a residence in the state he supposedly represented. He was well past his sell-by date, and should have departed years before he was booted.

    Re abortion, the entire party needed and needs a better answer to the endless gotcha questions asked by the leftist partisans than the none at all it has now.

    But that’s blindingly obvious, yet the establishment never manages to come up with anything. I presume if it had, Mourdock would have had the sense to use that answer when questioned.

    More failure, from the party of failure.

    • #18
  19. Xennady Member
    Xennady
    @

    David Sussman: So any Tea Party candidate is worthy of office?

    I was discussing one particular candidate who lost, which of course inspires people to start attacking the cursed Tea Party hordes.

    • #19
  20. Mate De Inactive
    Mate De
    @MateDe

    Right angles, I wrote a post about Mourdock’s statement back when he made (yes I have been a ricochet member that long). I disagree that his statement on abortion in cases of rape was the cause of his loss. if you take the pro life position too it’s logical conclusion then even in cases of rape and incest abortion is still immoral. The rape, incest, and life of the mother arguments from pro choice activists are to trip up pro life candidates because so few abortions are performed for that reason, but many candidates did not have good responses to those questions but that seems to be changing It’s interesting how the debate has changed now, because of the planned parenthood videos the candidates are much more open about their pro life positions.

    http://ricochet.com/archives/abortion-debate-foiled-again-after-left-mischaracterized-mourdocks-comments/

    • #20
  21. David Sussman Contributor
    David Sussman
    @DaveSussman

    Agreed that the Akins, Mourdocks, and Angles all fed into the Leftist narrative about Republicans they need to win elections. How soon will it be before the Left attach some of Trumps more controversial comments to Senate candidates?

    • #21
  22. Judge Mental Member
    Judge Mental
    @JudgeMental

    David Sussman:Agreed that the Akins, Mourdocks, and Angles all fed into the Leftist narrative about Republicans they need to win elections. How soon will it be before the Left attach some of Trumps more controversial comments to Senate candidates?

    This is already happening with things said by non-Trump candidates, at least in the presidential race.  Hillary’s statements lately all all based on saying things like, “they would force women to have babies in the case of rape” because one of them has that position.  All of her ‘they’ statements are based on the position of one or two of them.  You don’t need Trump in the mix to get this result.

    • #22
  23. David Sussman Contributor
    David Sussman
    @DaveSussman

    Judge Mental:

    David Sussman:Agreed that the Akins, Mourdocks, and Angles all fed into the Leftist narrative about Republicans they need to win elections. How soon will it be before the Left attach some of Trumps more controversial comments to Senate candidates?

    This is already happening with things said by non-Trump candidates, at least in the presidential race. Hillary’s statements lately all all based on saying things like, “they would force women to have babies in the case of rape” because one of them has that position. All of her ‘they’ statements are based on the position of one or two of them. You don’t need Trump in the mix to get this result.

    Politically she’s right. The Left and moderates agree with her on that issue. Although it’s been shown that abortion rights are not the primary reason people vote.

    At issue: Will Trumps 14th Amendment push be attached to every down ticket Republican costing Hispanic voters?

    • #23
  24. Judge Mental Member
    Judge Mental
    @JudgeMental

    David Sussman:

    Judge Mental:

    David Sussman:Agreed that the Akins, Mourdocks, and Angles all fed into the Leftist narrative about Republicans they need to win elections. How soon will it be before the Left attach some of Trumps more controversial comments to Senate candidates?

    This is already happening with things said by non-Trump candidates, at least in the presidential race. Hillary’s statements lately all all based on saying things like, “they would force women to have babies in the case of rape” because one of them has that position. All of her ‘they’ statements are based on the position of one or two of them. You don’t need Trump in the mix to get this result.

    Politically she’s right. The Left and moderates agree with her on that issue. Although it’s been shown that abortion rights are not the primary reason people vote.

    At issue: Will Trumps 14th Amendment push be attached to every down ticket Republican costing Hispanic voters?

    I may not have been clear enough.  I’m saying the attach-a-statement-by-one-Republican-to-all dynamic is entirely separate from Trump.  With 500+ candidates running, at least one will say something dumb or that can be taken out of context, and that person is suddenly the face of the party, speaking for everyone.  Has nothing to do with Trump, and we’re already seeing it this cycle for the other candidates as well.

    • #24
  25. jetstream Inactive
    jetstream
    @jetstream

    Dave, you’re from Las Vegas, you might know the name Chip Reese. When Trump first announced his candidacy, I didn’t think it good, bad or anything. When Trump happened here on Ricochet with all the bile and ad hominems, I started thinking about what I know about Trump from having watched his various projects starting back in 1985 or 86 and how silly and not grounded in reality most of the ad hominems were.

    If you know who Chip is, that’s the level that Trump competes at. He’s wicked dangerous to the GOPe.

    Chip was an old friend of mine.

    • #25
  26. David Sussman Contributor
    David Sussman
    @DaveSussman

    jetstream: Chip Reese

    Judge Mental:

    David Sussman:

    Judge Mental:

    David Sussman:Agreed that the Akins, Mourdocks, and Angles all fed into the Leftist narrative about Republicans they need to win elections. How soon will it be before the Left attach some of Trumps more controversial comments to Senate candidates?

    This is already happening with things said by non-Trump candidates, at least in the presidential race. Hillary’s statements lately all all based on saying things like, “they would force women to have babies in the case of rape” because one of them has that position. All of her ‘they’ statements are based on the position of one or two of them. You don’t need Trump in the mix to get this result.

    Politically she’s right. The Left and moderates agree with her on that issue. Although it’s been shown that abortion rights are not the primary reason people vote.

    At issue: Will Trumps 14th Amendment push be attached to every down ticket Republican costing Hispanic voters?

    I may not have been clear enough. I’m saying the attach-a-statement-by-one-Republican-to-all dynamic is entirely separate from Trump. With 500+ candidates running, at least one will say something dumb or that can be taken out of context, and that person is suddenly the face of the party, speaking for everyone. Has nothing to do with Trump, and we’re already seeing it this cycle for the other candidates as well.

    Agreed JM.

    • #26
  27. David Sussman Contributor
    David Sussman
    @DaveSussman

    jetstream:Dave, you’re from Las Vegas, you might know the name Chip Reese. When Trump first announced his candidacy, I didn’t think it good, bad or anything. When Trump happened here on Ricochet with all the bile and ad hominems, I started thinking about what I know about Trump from having watched his various projects starting back in 1985 or 86 and how silly and not grounded in reality most of the ad hominems were.

    If you know who Chip is, that’s the level that Trump competes at. He’s wicked dangerous to the GOPe.

    Chip was an old friend of mine.

    I haven’t lived in Vegas since 97, are you referring to the poker player?

    • #27
  28. jetstream Inactive
    jetstream
    @jetstream

    Yes, he was a poker player, Chip and Doyle Brunson were best friends. Chip didn’t play in very many tournaments, so, he wasn’t well known, even though he was the best high stakes cash player in the world. People would sit in cash games with him without understanding what they were up against .. until they had lost all of their money. All of this talk about Trump is clown, is stupid, is an idiot is the same kind of ignorance .. they don’t get what they are up against. Trumps going to run the hell over them.

    • #28
  29. David Sussman Contributor
    David Sussman
    @DaveSussman

    jetstream:Yes, he was a poker player, Chip and Doyle Brunson were best friends. Chip didn’t play in very many tournaments, so, he wasn’t well known, even though he was the best high stakes cash player in the world. People would sit in cash games with him without understanding what they were up against .. until they had lost all of their money. All of this talk about Trump is clown, is stupid, is an idiot is the same kind of ignorance .. they don’t get what they are up against. Trumps going to run the hell over them.

    Yeah I heard of Chip. Just looked him up and learned he died. Sad. Young.

    I don’t think anyone thinks Trump is dumb… (outside the standard Leftist talking points about all Republicans). Agree with you, he is wiley, and very smart. I’m still almost a billion shy of my first billion.

    The question is whether Trump can play the players, not the cards.

    • #29
  30. jetstream Inactive
    jetstream
    @jetstream

    David Sussman:

    jetstream:Yes, he was a poker player, Chip and Doyle Brunson were best friends. Chip didn’t play in very many tournaments, so, he wasn’t well known, even though he was the best high stakes cash player in the world. People would sit in cash games with him without understanding what they were up against .. until they had lost all of their money. All of this talk about Trump is clown, is stupid, is an idiot is the same kind of ignorance .. they don’t get what they are up against. Trumps going to run the hell over them.

    Yeah I heard of Chip. Just looked him up and learned he died. Sad. Young.

    I don’t think anyone thinks Trump is dumb… (outside the standard Leftist talking points about all Republicans). Agree with you, he is wiley, and very smart. I’m still almost a billion shy of my first billion.

    The question is whether Trump can play the players, not the cards.

    Have you read The Art of the Deal, Trump plays the the players.

    • #30

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