In their race to the White House, prudence dictates that Democrats need to plan for failure, Isaac Newton Farris Jr. writes.
First published in July 2019.
All Democrats are enthusiastically united behind one goal, defeating Donald Trump and recapturing the White House. There’s no question the White House is the ultimate prize to win but prudence dictates that Democrats need to plan for failure. Democrats need to take out a 2020 election insurance policy.
Democrats need to remember the old adage that there is more than one way to skin a cat. Winning the White House is not the only way to make Democrat initiatives the law of the land. If they have any doubt about this, all Democrats need to do is remember the failed nomination of Judge Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court. As powerful as an American president is, he or she is not a king or queen. If there is any doubt about this, Democrats need to remember how President Trump’s attempt to repeal Obamacare was stopped cold by a Senate controlled by his own Republican Party.
Based on the fact that Democrats have fielded over 20 candidates running to be president, many of which have NO CHANCE of winning the nomination of their own Party much less winning the election, they obviously feel the only road to policy change is capturing the White House. Nothing could be further from the truth. Even if Democrats win the White House but don’t win control of the Senate, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has already demonstrated his great ability to stop and prevent any Democrat initiatives from seeing the light of day in the Senate.
Currently, there are 53 Republicans and 47 Democrats in the Senate, if President Trump is reelected, Democrats need to win an additional 4 seats (since the vice president, as president of the Senate, casts tie-breaking votes). If President Trump loses, Democrats need to win only 3 additional seats. There is a flashing red light Democrats need to pay close attention to. President Trump reached the highest job approval rating (44%) of his career in the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll and runs competitively for re-election against four of five possible Democratic contenders.
Democrats need to be very concerned about these new numbers because they speak to something much more important than President Trump is more popular. These new numbers mean more voters are becoming less embarrassed about making their support of him public. President Trump has always been more popular than polling numbers revealed because his voters were lying to pollsters. They would claim to be abhorred by the controversy he created but secretly voted for him, now more and more of his closet supporters appear to be coming out of the closet which means he will be a harder opponent to defeat.
Henceforth, Democrats need an insurance policy to safeguard against the VERY realistic possibility that he will be reelected. Capturing just 4 additional seats in the Senate gives Democrats the insurance coverage they need in case of a Trump 2020 victory. Of the 22 Senate seats Republicans have up for reelection 15 of them (Alaska, Arkansas, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, West Virginia, and Wyoming) are thought to be safe and unwinnable for Democrats, but the remaining 8 (Colorado, Maine, Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Iowa, North Carolina, and Texas) are thought to be winnable.
Unfortunately, some Democrats are blinded by White House ambitions. 3 strong potential candidates Democrats need to win Senate seats with are preoccupied with running a race for president they CANNOT win. One of them is former two-term Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper who left office this year with an approval rating of 49% and a disapproval rating of 30%, this compared to Colorado’s current Senator Republican Corey Gardner considered the most vulnerable Senate Republican in the 2020 election cycle. A recent poll of Colorado voters who participated in the 2016 or 2018 general elections viewed Gardner favorably by 40% and unfavorably by 39%, making a Hickenlooper victory over him very possible.
This month, Hickenlooper’s campaign manager, communications director, digital director, and finance director are resigned urging him along with many national Democrats to run for the Senate. According to a campaign source the campaign only has about 13,000 donors, making it almost impossible to qualify for the next round of presidential debates in the fall. The campaign also only raised just over $1 million in the second quarter — about what he raised in the first 48 hours of his candidacy — and will likely run out of money completely in about a month.
Another candidate wasting time on a hopeless presidential campaign but appears to be a likely winner of a Senate campaign is current Montana Governor Steve Bullock. Bullock has yet to raise enough money or rank high enough in polls to qualify to participate in Democratic debates with other candidates. He is, however, a two-term governor, that was rated Montana’s most popular politician with a 60 percent approval rating in a Montana State University–Montana Television Network poll published in January. It’s widely agreed in Montana that Bullock would be a very formidable candidate against first term incumbent Steve Daines.
The third candidate that Democrats need to give up the fantasy of being elected president in 2020 is Beto O’Rourke, a former three-term House member, who raised over $70 million for his 2018 Senate race and came within 3 points of defeating Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas). A Quinnipiac University poll shows that 60% of Texas Democrats would prefer O’Rourke to run for the Senate again against incumbent John Cornyn (R) as opposed to running for president. The poll also shows that Ted Cruz, who O’Rourke lost to by 3 points, has a 50% approval among all Texas voters whereas John Cornyn has the approval of only 44%. Considering how close O’Rourke came to beating Cruz, it’s very conceivable that he could defeat Cornyn in the general election.
Fortunately, Democrats have a strong candidate in Arizona who could win the fourth Senate seat Democrats need in case of a Trump reelection. Mark Kelly, an astronaut and the spouse of Gabby Giffords, a former Congresswoman, and a gun violence victim, starts his campaign already in a virtual tie with incumbent Republican Martha McSally. A poll taken in May shows incumbent McSally leads Kelly by only a single point, 45-44. Worst for McSally is only 9% of voters have no opinion of her as opposed to 38% of voters have yet to form an opinion of Kelly leaving him plenty of growth room among the voters. Also, McSally reported a disappointing amount of money raised during the first three months of this year. In contrast, Kelly reported more than twice the money raised and has significantly more money available. Kelly has $3.2 million; McSally has $2.1 million cash on hand.
The White House is the ultimate seat of power but not the only one. Whatever happens, Democrats need to flip the Senate from Republican to Democrat. Because even if Democrats defeat President Trump without winning the Senate, the same Mitch McConnell that illegitimately denied former President Barak Obama a Supreme Court pick, will still be there to deny a new Democrat president any Democrat Party initiatives they would seek to implement.
Democrats need to take out an insurance policy in case of White House defeat. Bottom line Democrats need to focus less on the diamond of the White House and more on the gold of the Senate.🔷
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