CNN: Down-Ballot Republicans Are Increasingly “Panicked” About 2020
According to CNN, Republicans are worried that “[President Donald] Trump’s response to the pandemic and the subsequent economic fallout” will jeopardize his reelection and the GOP’s Senate majority.
Corey Lewandowski and David Bossie, two of Trump’s outside political advisers, warned the President of his decreased popularity in vital swing states.
Republican operatives describe the broader concern facing Republican incumbents running in 2020. Despite feeling confident just three months ago, operatives have lowered their expectations, now hoping for minimal loss and an outcome mirroring Mitt Romney’s loss in 2012 as opposed to Senator John McCain’s in 2008.
States like Arizona and North Carolina, deemed winnable prior to the pandemic, risk the GOP’s effort to preserve its already slim 3-seat majority.
The pandemic and current economy might leave Republicans “both depressing the Republican faithful and turning off swing voters,” threatening those needing to reach “beyond the President's core base of supporters.”
The most recent CNN poll shows Trump’s approval rating at 45 percent: more Americans trust the President in handling the economy at 50 percent than his handling of the pandemic at just 42 percent approval. Even so, the lack of a “V-shaped recovery” by November will thwart any economic strategy the Trump campaign plans to use.
Trump’s stable position in the GOP threatens alienating voters who like the party but don’t like the president. Republicans worry “bleeding support from both seniors and self-described independent men” will not suffice in maintaining Senate majority.
Scott Reed, the political director at the US Chamber of Commerce and a veteran of Republican campaigns, claims that even if the economic downturn doesn’t improve by election time, Congress’ approval rate of 31 percent is a good sign for the GOP.
He argues incumbents should emphasize local and individual accomplishments: Senators Cory Gardner of Colorado and Susan Collins of Maine stress their bipartisanship, with the latter identifying as an independent centrist. They are able to effectively distance from Trump and the broader economic crisis.
Despite these challenges, the GOP is still well-positioned against Democrats so long as the President maintains an uplifting attitude towards the country’s recovery from the pandemic. The Trump campaign will rely on unity in the coming election to pit Americans against Biden.