Swing State GOP Senators Content To Hold Trump's Hand, Drive Off Cliff Together
Donald Trump is set to hold rallies in swing states where Republican senators tanked their political careers when they helped him skate on impeachment charges. It's the least he can do, and they might as well call it the "GOP Learned Nothing From Kentucky" tour.
The president will swing by Arizona Wednesday to prop up never-elected, never-gonna-get-elected Sen. Martha McSally. McSally headlined her own "Veterans for Trump" event Tuesday night, where she made some strange remarks.
MCSALLY: We are going to be ground zero for President Trump's reelection, and we are ground zero to keep the Senate majority.
It's almost been 20 (!) years since 9/11, but isn't "ground zero" objectively a bad thing? The term most commonly refers to the site of a nuclear explosion. She's not wrong, but how is this helpful? McSally demonstrated more of her savvy political skills during an appearance on Fox News where she accused Barack Obama of trying to take credit for actual things he'd done as president.
With all due respect President Obama, you didn’t build this economy. https://t.co/hSEhTUhlih— Martha McSally (@Martha McSally)1581993168.0
MCSALLY: It was the Trump economy working with the Republicans in the Senate and the House, cutting taxes, rolling back regulations, getting people off sidelines back in the workforce. With all due respect to President Obama, you didn't build this to use his own terms
TRISH REGAN: Oh, that's good. Senator, that's good.
No, it's not good. In addition to just not being true in any way whatsoever, it's also a dated reference to the conservative freakout when Obama suggested during the 2012 campaign that America is an actual society and not a Darwinian nightmare state. This was so politically damaging that Obama won re-election overwhelmingly. McSally needs new material. She's not just playing at the Chuckle Hut on Fox News. She's facing an astronaut at the ballot box, after already losing to a woman in a pink tutu. If this is the best she can do, she's toast. Look for Trump to start proactively forgetting McSally exists as her poll numbers continue to drop.
The other critically endangered Republican welcoming Trump's help is Cory Gardner. The Colorado incumbent just barely won in 2014, a huge year for Republicans. According to a poll from December, Gardner's favorability rating is a dismal 33 percent, which is only slightly worse than Trump's 37 percent. His potential opponent is former governor John Hickenlooper, who was far more popular. GOP strategists believe there's no way Republican senators can separate themselves from Trump, so why bother trying? It's better to unite the base and then lose big on account of liberal math. Republicans account for only a third of registered voters in Arizona and Colorado. The rest are independents and Democrats. McSally can ride or die with Trump on impeachment, call reporters "liberal hacks," and make subpar Jay Leno-style jokes about Obama, but that won't magically create a winning coalition.
If Republicans can't shake Trump, they think that they can anchor their Democratic opponents with the crazy socialist frontrunner, Bernie Sanders. We're frequently told the GOP is sitting on video of Sanders saying nice things about the Soviet Union back when Pete Buttigieg was an ovum. There's no telling how damaging M*A*S*H-era oppo could prove to a Democratic ticket if Sanders is the nominee.
McSally released an ad this week that links her Democratic opponent, Mark Kelly, to Sanders, although it's uncertain they've ever met. The ad calls Kelly a "Bernie bro" and condemned Kelly for saying in the most measured, non-endorsement way possible that he'd support Sanders if he's the nominee. Kelly would probably also vote for syphilis over Trump. North Carolina Senator Thom Tillis is tying all his potential Democratic opponents to Sanders.
While Sen. Tillis' Democratic opponents have all vowed to support whichever candidate their party nominates for president, even those with socialist policies, Sen. Tillis wants to continue partnering with President Trump on the pro-growth initiatives that have our economy booming," Andrew Romeo, a spokesperson for Tillis, said in a statement.
This is such a moving target primary that these dummies could have to reframe their entire line of attack if, say, Mike Bloomberg is the nominee or, hell, Oprah Winfrey, at the rate we're going. This election is about the known threat of Trump, and he's the one at the top of the ticket. Republicans just made sure of that.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes reviews for the A.V. Club and make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."