Sunday, July 12, 2020

Dire Straits

No, I don't mean the British group that gave us The Sultans of Swing, as great as they were. I refer instead to the situation Donald Trump and his party find themselves in. The Economist model gives Biden a 91 percent chance of winning the Presidential election. The 538 running poll average has had him steady at 9-10 points ahead nationally, 10 points in Michigan, 8 points ahead in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, 6 points in Florida and 3 points in North Carolina and Arizona. That's all six key swing states. Not to mention being ahead in Georgia and Ohio and very slightly ahead in Texas (!)
But it's even worse that that! Henry Olsen, a very astute conservative analyst who writes for The Washington Post explains:
"Republicans are beginning to gird themselves for a landslide defeat for President Trump that drags the entire party down. It could be even worse than they think.
Elections in both the House and Senate are increasingly syncing with broader presidential races. In 2016, every Senate race was won by the same party that won that state in the presidential contest. In 2018, House races largely correlated with Trump’s approval rating, with even the most popular GOP incumbents unable to run more than a few points ahead of the president. Polls for Senate races this year show the same trend, with Republican incumbents’ totals closely matched with Trump’s.
This spells disaster for the party. Public polls show incumbent Senate Republicans trailing in five states: Arizona, Colorado, Iowa, Maine and North Carolina. One recent poll from Georgia shows Sen. David Perdue leading his Democratic opponent, Jon Ossoff, 45 percent to 42 percent, but that same poll also shows Trump trailing presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden in the state by two percentage points, 47 percent to 45 percent. The clear implication is that Georgia is also in play if Trump’s ratings stay down, which would spell disaster for Republicans since the second Senate seat in Georgia, held by appointed Sen. Kelly Loeffler, is also on the November ballot. That’s seven GOP-held Senate seats at a high risk of switching parties, with only the Democratic-held seat in Alabama that is seen as a likely Republican pickup to offset those losses...
Republicans also look set to lose House seats if trends don’t improve. Throughout 2020, Democrats have led the national generic ballot, which asks respondents whose party’s House candidate they would support. They currently lead by a massive 11-point margin, nearly three points more than they won the national popular vote in 2018. Republicans will automatically lose two seats because of a court-ordered redistricting in North Carolina and won at least 10 seats in 2018 by three points or less. Losing this November by 10 points or more would almost guarantee further GOP House losses, entrenching Democratic rule in the House even further.
A Republican wipeout would likely extend deep into state legislatures, too. Republicans gained 680 state legislative seats in their 2010 wave victory, while Democrats picked up 309 state legislative seats in 2018. Another Democratic landslide could hand them control of a number of key legislative chambers, the most important being the Texas State House. Republicans in Austin hold an 83-to-67 advantage, but they lost 12 seats in 2018, and Democratic Senate candidate Beto O’Rourke won nine districts currently represented by Republicans. If Democrats were to win control, it would eliminate Republican control over redistricting in a state that is expected to send 39 members to the House after the post-census reapportionment."
Similarly, Charlie Cook, the nonpartisan analyst who puts out The Cook Political Report and tends to be cautious in calling political trends says the following in a National Journal post titled "It's getting late early for the Trump campaign"
"This election is turning into a horror show for the Republican Party. In conversations this week with a large number of top-notch pollsters, operatives, and strategists from both parties with decades of experience, the reports are that independents are breaking away from President Trump. While his share of Republican Party support remains high—possibly even a touch higher than a few months ago—there are signs that the number of voters identifying as Republicans has started to drop. Sure, the ones left behind are as loyal as ever; it gets that way when the wagons are circling and tightening.
One strategist remarked that it has felt more like a September or October campaign environment than June or July. It would be premature to declare the presidential race over or the Republican Senate majority as good as gone, but "dire" is a mild word for Republicans’ situation."
Dire indeed for the GOP; very, very good for the Democrats. Could they still blow it? Hey, we're talking about the Democrats here! But I like their odds.
Republicans have little control over their fate.

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