Trump's Reelection Strategy? Vote Suppression And Murdering Downballot Republicans.
There is no problem with Donald Trump's base!
"I have a very hard base. I have the strongest base people have ever seen!" he boasted to Politico's Alex Isenstadt yesterday.
And that's true, as far as it goes. But it only goes to about 43 percent, and even with our gerrymandered electoral college, that's probably not enough to get him four more years to pooptweet every morning on the taxpayer dime from the comfort of the White House residence. So that rock hard diamond of supporters may end up being a lump of coal if he can't find a nice white gold setting to anchor it in. But broadening your support is hard when you're the most incompetent, obnoxious man alive, so Trump is going with Plan B.
What's Plan B?
Voter suppression, of course! Come on, it's always voter suppression with these assholes.
"My biggest risk is that we don't win lawsuits," Trump burbled, saying the quiet part out loud as usual. "We have many lawsuits going all over. And if we don't win those lawsuits, I think — I think it puts the election at risk."
Indeed the GOP does have "many lawsuits." In Texas for instance, where coronavirus hospitalizations hit record highs in each of the past seven days (is that bad???), the GOP has sued to ensure that no one gets to vote by mail just because they fear standing in line at the polls during a pandemic. After a decade lying about hordes of fraudulent in-person voters, the GOP has shifted seamlessly to fearmongering about ballot-harvesting and the dangers of mail-in votes.
In 2018 it was, "Sometimes they go to their car, put on a different hat, put on a different shirt, come in and vote again." But today it's gangs of delinquent kids stealing ballots from mailboxes.
"So when [California Governor Gavin Newsom] sends out 28 million ballots in all the mailboxes, and kids go and they raid the mailboxes, and they hand them to people that are signing the ballots down the end of the street, which is happening. They grab the ballots," Trump said in May. "You don't think that happens? There's ballot harvesting."
In point of fact, no, we do not think that's happening. Because we gave up huffing glue during the pandemic. But it sure is a convenient excuse to suppress the vote by making it as hard as possible to cast a ballot.
Hence Florida's Gov. Rick DeSantis, flanked by the the RNC, NRCC, and Florida's GOP, fighting tooth and nail to enforce a voter-assistance ban, require a stamp for mail-in ballots, and deny the franchise to ex-offenders. Because they all know damn well that the GOP is a minority party that can only win when people don't vote. DeSantis's state is also in the middle of a major COVID spike, so of course he's setting it up to have those long lines of in-person voters again in heavily Democratic Broward and Miami-Dade counties, because that train is never late!
Back at the White House, Donald Trump had shifted his focus to those members of his own party who might be temped to put a little daylight between themselves and an unpopular president who looks shaky for November. Luckily, Trump is surrounded by lickspittle lackeys whose only job is to shove listicles under his nose about 10 Ways Donald Trump Is the Yugeliest Popular President Ever! So right on cue, White House Political Director Brian Jack — hey, you pay his salary, cool! — produced a memo comparing Donald Trump's uncontested primary performance with that of vulnerable Republicans downballot.
"Wow, that's great in North Carolina, huh?" Trump remarked, noting that he got 94 percent of Republican voters there, while Senator Thom Tillis hit just 74 percent in his primary.
During the interview, Trump rattled off a list of senators who lost their seats after separating themselves from him. He recalled ending the political careers of Tennessee Republican Bob Corker ("So, anyway, I went after him," he said. "No longer a senator.") and Arizona Republican Jeff Flake ("He went from 54 percent to 3."). Nevada Republican Dean Heller "went down" in the general election ("How did it work out for the great senator of Nevada? Not too good.").
Why yes, the Narcissist in Chief is celebrating the loss of GOP-held seats in Arizona and Nevada because those senators were mean to him. Tillis is in a fight for his life, Republican control of the Senate is at stake, and Trump is threatening to shiv any politician who refuses to subordinate his own political fortunes to the president's all-consuming ego.
"We will, on occasion, have some senators that want to be cute," he said. "And they don't want to embrace their president." How very dare they! But if Trump wants to give us more Joe Cunninghams, we ain't mad about it.
The interview ended with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin bringing baby another dose of Happy Pills. The two shared a chuckle over a bad review of John Bolton's upcoming book. Because sometimes seeing your enemies lose is more important than winning, we guess?
Anyway, watch your back, Senator Tillis. And stay off the Botox, Senator Collins — looks like you'll be doing some serious brow furrowing soon.
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Liz Dye lives in Baltimore with her wonderful husband and a houseful of teenagers. When she isn't being mad about a thing on the internet, she's hiding in plain sight in the carpool line. She's the one wearing yoga pants glaring at her phone.