October 12, 2020

BEGINNING TO LOOK ALOT LIKE '80:

Trump's task: Resetting campaign that GOP fears is slipping (JONATHAN LEMIRE, ZEKE MILLER and JILL COLVIN, 10/12/20, AP)

The death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg animated conservatives but also electrified Democrats, driving a tsunami of cash toward Biden and down-ballot Democrats. Trump's heavily derided debate performance only exacerbated the problem, as even his own supporters found him rude as he so frequently interrupted Biden.

Reviewing data afterward, campaign aides worried as they started to see Trump's support begin to slip. They saw the president's coronavirus diagnosis as only compounding the problem, particularly with seniors. [...]

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, said Friday if that people are depressed and upset on Election Day, "I think we could lose the White House and both houses of Congress, that it could be a bloodbath of Watergate proportions." In November 1974, the first congressional election after the Watergate scandal drove Republican President Richard Nixon from office, Democrats added significantly to their majorities in both houses. They took back the White House in 1976 and added still more seats in Congress.

Trump's campaign worries that it is losing support among suburban voters, women and older voters. The loss of older voters would be especially concerning in states like Florida and Arizona, where aides felt pre-debate Trump had pulled even with or slightly ahead Biden in part due to his improved standing with Latino voters.

Advisers privately concede that Trump, who has not moderated his tone on the virus after getting sick, has little chance of victory without Florida, which will be the site of his first post-diagnosis rally on Monday. And a loss in Arizona would require Trump to hold onto Pennsylvania.

Biden in recent weeks has pushed into states that once were considered safe for Trump, among them Iowa, Georgia and Texas, forcing the president to spend valuable time and resources to play defense. The Democrat on Monday will make a trip to Ohio for his general election campaign, another state Trump won convincingly in 2016.

"He's in trouble, there's no question. By every traditional measuring stick, this looks like a Biden landslide," said Ari Fleischer, former press secretary for President George W. Bush. "It's hard to predict what will happen in Congress, but anytime there is a large-scale victory, it has the potential to create tides to sweep people out."

The fate of the Senate has increasingly weighed on Republicans, who see tough races in Maine, Colorado, Arizona and North Carolina and even worries in deep-red Kansas and South Carolina. Some Trump backers are warning that GOP Senate candidates are now at an inflection point and some, including Sens. John Cornyn of Texas and Martha McSally of Arizona, took small steps to distance themselves from the president in recent days.

Dan Eberhart, a prominent GOP donor and Trump supporter, said there is no doubt that Trump's handling of the pandemic is eroding support for down-ballot Republicans and could lead to a Democratic sweep of government.

"I hope the polls have it wrong," Eberhart said. "But Republicans ... need to develop a campaign strategy committed to protecting the Senate at all costs, even if it means sacrificing the Oval Office."

Posted by at October 12, 2020 12:00 AM

  

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