August 6, 2020


Republicans fear disaster in November (OLIVIA BEAVERS AND JULIEGRACE BRUFKE,  08/06/20, The Hill)
Republicans are privately fearing the worst possible outcome in November, one that could leave them without the White House or a majority in either chamber of Congress next year.

House Republicans face numerous, almost insurmountable obstacles: a cash shortfall against the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, 27 retiring lawmakers and a Republican National Committee that is more focused on reelecting President Trump and protecting the Senate GOP majority. They also need to pick up a net 17 seats to win back the House.

While Republicans noted the political landscape appears to change by the day, some are expressing a growing sense of doom.

"If the election were today, we would lose the House, the Senate and the White House," said one Republican source. [...]

[T]rump's unarticulated vision for a potential second term has made it difficult for GOP candidates to tell voters what they would be getting if they side with Republicans. And many voters don't like what they've already seen, particularly when it comes to the Trump administration's handling of the coronavirus.

Some GOP lawmakers who spoke to The Hill acknowledged that the president has failed to inject much-needed urgency into his pandemic response even as U.S. infection numbers approach 5 million, with nearly 160,000 dead.

"People are looking for reassurance ... Chaos worked great in 2016, [but] they don't want it in 2020," said one GOP lawmaker. "They want to know that we're trusting science and doctors on the questions here and they want to know we're going to get through it. There needs to be more FDR fireside chats and less Jerry Springer knockdowns."

Trump's rhetoric has alienated a key voting bloc that Republicans have sought to attract: suburban women. The president's recent attack on Deborah Birx, a leading member of the White House coronavirus task force, did not help that effort.

"Conservative women want to see empathy and compassion and don't like meanness. We are doing really poorly with married, white women," a GOP source said. "I do not at all understand the Deborah Birx attack at all -- not politically and not morally."

Republicans who are trying to court those voters also face a funding challenge. The campaign arm for House Democrats, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, held a $33 million advantage over the National Republican Congressional Committee at the end of June, making it harder for GOP candidates to get their message out to voters.

Some Republicans also see Trump pushing away elderly voters with his persistent attacks on mail-in voting. His supporters say that could hurt him in the long run since seniors, who generally skew Republican, are at high risk of contracting COVID-19 and are more likely to vote by mail.

Posted by at August 6, 2020 1:28 PM