Schumer's strategy: Tie GOP in 2012 to rising Tea Party unpopularity

Sen. Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerSchumer: Trump should take Kim Jong Un off 'trip coin' Overnight Finance: Trump signs repeal of auto-loan policy | Justices uphold contracts that bar employee class-action suits | US, China trade war 'on hold' Free traders applaud Trump as China tariff threat recedes MORE (D-N.Y.) is pinning Democrats’ hopes for keeping their Senate majority on a strategy that would tie the GOP to the Tea Party, which has dropped in popularity.

Schumer, who as chairman of the Senate Democratic Policy Committee has responsibility for the Senate Democrats' messaging strategy, unveiled his 2012 campaign plans at a Wednesday breakfast hosted by Third Way, a Democratic think tank.

Schumer believes the Tea Party, which lost support after forcing a July showdown over the debt limit, could be the GOP’s Achilles' heel next year.

“By linking the GOP to its extreme Tea Party fringe, Democrats can bolster the prospects or the president’s jobs ideas, or at least make clear who is responsible for the stalling of the recovery,” Schumer wrote in a memo to “interested parties.”

Schumer argues Democrats can make this link by “branding the school of thought that resists against any job-creation measures as ‘Tea Party economics.’ ”

He says, “The opponents of the president’s jobs proposals should be invoked as ‘Tea Party Republicans.’

“If their obstruction continues, it will risk a ‘Tea Party recession,’ ” he added.

Schumer, and Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidMcConnell not yet ready to change rules for Trump nominees The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by CVS Health — Trump’s love-hate relationship with the Senate Trump to press GOP on changing Senate rules MORE (D-Nev.), pursued a similar strategy during the government shutdown fight in April and the summer's debt-limit standoff.

He believes the strategy was effective and he plans to ramp it up to campaign-season pitch over the next several weeks.

Public polling shows the Tea Party has steadily lost support over the past year. Schumer cited tracking polls by The New York Times and CBS News showing the Tea Party’s unpopularity rating swelling from around 25 percent at the beginning of the year to near 40 percent last month.

Survey data published by CNN and NBC News and The Wall Street Journal showed similar trends.

“These numbers show Tea Party Republicans are more vulnerable than ever to the argument that their policies, as well as tactics, are hurting the economy,” Schumer claimed.

Schumer’s battle plans appear to belie his simultaneous effort to mend relations with Senate Republicans. 

Schumer negotiated with Senate Republican Conference Chairman Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderSenate GOP urges Trump administration to work closely with Congress on NAFTA GOP lawmakers want Trump to stop bashing Congress The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by CVS Health - A pivotal day for House Republicans on immigration MORE (Tenn.) at the start of the year to implement a friendly understanding to allow more of President Obama’s nominees to win Senate confirmation without formal votes.

Last week, Schumer proposed a bipartisan meeting to give Democratic and Republican leaders a chance to work out their differences.

“We need a little bit of a cooling-off period,” Schumer said.

He asked Reid if he would be “willing to sit down with the minority leader and others in an effort to try and figure out how we can get back to somewhat more of a regular order.”

If Republicans fail to respond to these overtures by supporting Obama's agenda, Schumer is ready to launch a full-scale political attack.