November 4, 2016


An Anchor or a Lifeboat? (Susan Milligan, Nov. 4, 2016, US News)

In the 2014 midterm elections, Democrats couldn't run fast enough away from President Barack Obama. Senate candidates in the president's party didn't campaign with him, worried that voter frustration over the slowly recovering economy and Obamacare, combined with the usual lower Democratic turnout in midterm elections, would doom them. Fast forward to this year, and the outgoing president isn't just being embraced by Democratic contenders. At least two imperiled Republicans have put images of Obama into their campaign ads - and in a positive way.

That turn of events would seem bizarre in a normal campaign year, when Republicans would point to the outgoing president as the warden presiding over their soon-to-be-ending, eight-year prison sentence, with the GOP nominee as their liberator. And Democrats, too, might celebrate the lame duck president's accomplishments, but still make it very clear they have an agenda of change. But this is not a normal election year. And faced with two of the least popular presidential nominees in modern history at the top of the ticket, down-ticket candidates are scrambling to find the balance that will get them to (or back to) a job in Washington. [...]

[A]t least two GOP candidates, Portman and California Rep. Darryl Issa, have featured Obama in their campaign ads, presenting themselves as bipartisan operators. That was particularly startling from Issa, who has spent a great deal of time investigating the Obama administration (a point Obama made in criticizing the Issa ads as "shameless").

The candidate not showing up in ads for Republicans in tight races? That would be their party's own pick for president, Trump. And that factor could cost the GOP its Senate majority, complicating the party's mission next year.

Posted by at November 4, 2016 12:33 PM