Six years ago, I began my life of political activism.
Granted, I did what I could for the Rudy Giuliani campaign in 2008, and I voted for John McCain in the General Election, but didn’t really become an activist until 2010, after the passage of Obamacare via Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Reid in the Senate.
I had joined my county’s Republican Executive Committee as a Precinct Committeeman that year, which is to say that I became involved in the governing arm of the Republican Party of Florida (RPOF) in my county. Our duties included fundraising, recruiting candidates for local and statewide offices, appropriating funds for various party functions, – you get the idea.
I remember when the 2010 midterm election happened, and I was sitting inside the room at our headquarters, watching the returns coming in, and the excitement in that room when the Republicans finally took back the House from the Democrats, for the first time in years. We were officially halfway to taking back Congress, and stopping President Obama dead in his tracks.
Over the next 2 election cycles, we took back the Senate, and replaced Harry Reid with Mitch McConnell. Congress was ours, and the stopgap was in place to derail Obama’s agenda for the remainder of his time in office.
Of course, hindsight is 20/20, and the results haven’t gone to the benefit of constitutional conservatism like many of us had hoped and expected. As a result, millions of Americans became further enraged and disenchanted by Washington, D.C. politics, including myself.
Republicans in the House did nothing to curtail Obama’s massive spending, illegal executive amnesty, Obamacare, or entitlement spending. In the Senate, the situation has been even WORSE. Neither Speaker Boehner nor current Speaker Ryan, or Leader McConnell, have adhered to their principles.
Then came the start of the 2016 Presidential campaign season, and a conga line of Republican candidates vying for the primary nomination. The only person missing from that selection, was a quadrennial threat to run for President, but whom had only once prior followed through, in 2000 – Donald J. Trump.
And then, it happened. Along with the unlikely candidacy of Mr. Trump, came an equally unlikely campaign style, which during any other election season would have seemed impossible in leading to actually becoming the nominee. Until it happened, the fate being sealed when Ted Cruz withdrew from the race.
Trump’s brash style, “burn down the tent and create his own” technique, and massively controversial revelations, including the recent sexual assault allegations, have lead to a significant tarnishing of the Republican brand. Indeed, the playbook which gave him the nomination, and excited his base, is likely to have an unintended consequence for those thinking they’re doing what’s best for America.
Several prominent Republicans up for re-election this year, have distanced themselves from Mr. Trump, most notably including Senators Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania. And it’s really no wonder – both are Senators in states where Hillary Clinton is currently leading, and they are endangered members of the upper chamber.
In New Hampshire, Trump trails Clinton by 3.6% according to the most updated RCP (RealClearPolitics) average available, 43.3 to 39.7. Presently, Ms. Ayotte has benefited from greater support, with the most recent average showing her up 46.3 to 44 (2.3%). In my mind, campaigning independent of the Trump burden has helped her.
In Pennsylvania, Clinton’s lead is 7 points, 46.7-39.7, while Pat Toomey’s deficit against opponent Katie McGinty is similarly less significant at 44.2 to 43.8 (0.4%). However, you move to Florida, where “Little Marco” won his 2010 Senate bid overwhelmingly in 2010 against Democrat (then Independent) Charlie Crist and Democrat (presently) Kendrick Meek, earning nearly 50% of the vote (49%) in a 3-way race, crushing Crist by 19 points. Presently, Rubio’s lead over challenger, Rep. Patrick Murphy (Democrat), is a slim 4.7% (47-42.3).
Other endangered Republicans include Senators Ron Johnson (Wisconsin), Roy Blount (Missouri), Todd Young (Indiana, running to replace the retiring Dan Coats), Richard Burr (North Carolina), and Mark Kirk (Illinois). Even in Nevada, Republicans have an opportunity for a pickup of the seat occupied by the retiring Minority Leader Harry Reid, and that race is deadlocked between Joe Heck and Catherine Cortez-Masto.
Conceivably, the Republicans could stand to lose at least 4 seats, wiping out the gains they made in 2012 and 2014. If that number rises, the Democrats will retake the Senate.
Over on the House side, the prospects don’t look any better. Presently, the Democrats in Congress have a higher approval rating (47%) than the Republicans (44%). In generic polling, the Democrats as recently as a week ago held a 10 percent advantage, 46-36. Over all, Democrats have the advantage, 46-41.
To put this into the proper context, back in 2014, Republicans held the advantage, 45.6 to 43.2 (2.4%). In the year of the greatest gains Republicans had ever seen, they had nearly the same level of support (50.7 to 41.3, 9.4%) as the Democrats had in that poll I referenced before from a week ago.
The bottom line, is this – the Republicans are in for a NIGHTMARE election, poised to lose the White House for the 3rd consecutive election, the Senate, and potentially the House.
This means a setup we haven’t seen since 2010, when the Democrats rammed Obamacare down our throats. Only THIS time, we have Supreme Court appointments coming.
Make no mistake about it, folks, the toxic environment that been created by Donald Trump, as the prohibitive standard-bearer of the Republican Party, is acting as a lead weight on Republicans in Congress. Had the Republican voters, of which I was one prior to this past spring, chosen a palatable Republican that stood on bedrock conservative principles, in the mold of a Ted Cruz or Carly Fiorina, I don’t believe we’d be standing in the position we’re in.
Trump supporters voted to throw out the baby with the bathwater, rather than changing the water and cleaning around the baby. Anger and frustration got in the way of standing behind the Tea Party and electing a sane individual that hasn’t spent the duration of the post-nomination campaign, making every conceivable mistake, unforced error, and blunder imaginable.
I’m not speaking of those that voted for other candidates, and are voting for Trump to stop Clinton. I’m speaking of those that actually voted FOR Trump. I spent the entire length of the primary process attacking Trump, criticizing Trump, and trying to open up the eyes of those supporting Trump.
In a few short weeks, they will have reaped what they sewed months ago, barring some unforeseen miracle between now and then.
In the meantime, the Democrats will get started on measuring drapes in Washington, D.C. And, Senator Schumer and Minority Leader Pelosi, will prepare to take the helm.