Did Trump put the Republican Party in danger of repeating the 2010 Senate race?
Over the course of a scorching summer, predictions for how Democrats will fare in the midterm elections (particularly in the Senate) have shifted from dismal to cautiously optimistic. Many factors contributed to this turnaround. The Supreme Court overturned half a century of precedent when it overturned Roe v. Wade, giving discouraged Democrats an issue to rally around; Biden finally struck a deal with his recalcitrant Democrats to push through important elements of his domestic policy agenda and surprisingly strong employment numbers countered the threat of an impending recession and proved a strong, if brief, counterpart. , to bad economic news regarding inflation. In August, Democrats were related with Republicans in the “generic ballot,” a question that asks whether voters want Democrats or Republicans in Congress.
Earlier this summer, FiveThirtyEight offered Republicans a 60% chance to hold the Senate, but on August 10 their prediction had reversed and they are now giving the Democrats a 60% chance to hold the Senate.
What happened? Along with a slew of positive news for Democrats, a group of Trump cronies have been nominated as Republican candidates for the House and Senate (as well as for governor and other statewide races). ). Many of these candidates won with Trump’s endorsement and against the better judgment of other members of the Republican Party. These candidates could diminish the chances of a Republican blowout this year, especially in the Senate.
That’s why this year reminds me of the 2010 midterm elections. At the start of that election, the Democrats held a sizable lead in the Senate. But President Obama and his health care plan were very unpopular; in mid-August 2010, Obama’s approval rating was 43%.
Between the 2008 and 2010 elections, the Democrats lost 9 Senate races, including 6 on election night in 2010. Many of their candidates were defeated. Nonetheless, Democrats have retained control, albeit by a much narrower margin.
One of the reasons Democrats retained a narrow majority that year can be attributed to the Tea Party’s influence in the 2010 Republican nominating process that resulted in problematic candidates. In Delaware, they helped nominate Christine O’Connell over a more experienced candidate, former Governor Mike Castle, who would have had a much better chance of winning the Senate seat vacated by the Vice President. Biden and held by a placeholder. O’Donnell had many similarities to Trump and his candidates; her name was actually “imbalanceby the chairman of the Delaware Republican Party, and she specialized in outright lies and character attacks.
But she is probably best remembered for being the first and only United States Senate nominee ever to have had to declare “i am not a witch“, after admitting on a talk show that she had”touched by witchcraft» and had had a «date with a witch… on a satanic quirk.”
In Nevada, Republicans had a chance to defeat Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who had very low approval ratings due to record unemployment in his state. Once again, the Tea Party backed a candidate, Sharon Angle, a conservative whose views were so right she even suggested phasing out Social Security. She defeated Sue Lowdon, the establishment candidate.
So what about Trump’s picks for 2022?
So far, none of Trump’s Senate nominees have had to declare he’s not a witch, but clearly some of Trump’s picks are weak.
For example, Arizona is a very competitive state where Trump’s thumb on the scales gave the Republican nomination to Blake Masters, a first-time candidate who beat other establishment candidates in the primary. At present, it looks like Masters could lose to incumbent Senator Mark Kelly, allowing the Democrats to retain the seat.
In Georgia, Trump endorsed Herschel Walker, a famous footballer with no political or public sector experience and with many personal issues. FiveThirtyEight now gives a slight edge to the holder, Raphael Warnock; if that proves to be correct, the Democrats will take the seat. Trump’s endorsement of author JD Vance, Ohio, also a political novice, came against the wishes of incumbent Sen. Rob Portman and other Republican establishment candidates. FiveThirtyEight gives Vance a small lead which would allow Republicans to take that seat, but observers are impressed with how close Rep. Tim Ryan has made the race.
And now we come to Pennsylvania. There, incumbent Republican Senator Pat Toomey decided to retire. Trump walked into leading TV personality Mehmet Oz against the wishes of the Republican establishment. At the start of the summer, FiveThirtyEight gave Oz a great luck to beat Democratic candidate John Fetterman, but by August the numbers had changed and Fetterman now has a significant advance. Oz turned out to be a poor candidate. He only raised about a third money that Fetterman collected. Additionally, he spent critical time out of state, and the Fetterman campaign portrayed him as a “hollywood docwhich is actually from New Jersey.
Trump has spent the 2022 primary season resisting the Republican establishment in order to put his own stamp on the party. Unsurprisingly, he has shown a fondness for candidates who are celebrities and political novices, just as he was in 2016. If, in November, the Democrats continue to control the Senate and perhaps even get a seat or two, the Republicans won’t have one to blame but Donald Trump.