SPONSORED:

Democrats will win back the Senate majority in 2020, all thanks to President Trump

If the 2020 presidential election were held today, Donald Trump would lose to any of the top Democratic contenders and Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellAs Biden administration ramps up, Trump legal effort drags on Harris says she has 'not yet' spoken to Pence Kamala Harris, Stacey Abrams among nominees for Time magazine's 2020 Person of the Year MORE would return to his role as minority leader in the United States Senate.

In Arizona during 2016, then-candidate Donald Trump became the first Republican nominee in 20 years to receive less than 50 percent of the vote. Since the election, his numbers have fallen precipitously, with 53 percent of Arizona voters holding either an “unfavorable” or “very unfavorable” view in polling from September by Bendixen & Amandi International.

The GOP incumbent appointed in 2019, Sen. Martha McSallyMartha Elizabeth McSallyTrump nominee's long road to Fed may be dead end McSally, staff asked to break up maskless photo op inside Capitol McSally's final floor speech: 'I gave it my all, and I left it all on the field' MORE, has just a 39 percent approval rating, with 37 percent of Arizonans disapproving of the new senator’s job. In the same survey, McSally’s 2018 rival and current senate colleague Kyrsten Sinema enjoys a 47 percent approval rating. If the polling didn’t provide enough cause for concern for Team Red, Democratic challenger Mark Kelly has already raised $14 million this year, including $5.6 million in the most recent quarter — a staggering sum that rivals some of the top Democratic presidential contenders. 

ADVERTISEMENT

When Colorado Sen. Cory GardnerCory GardnerHillicon Valley: Trump fires top federal cybersecurity official, GOP senators push back | Apple to pay 3 million to resolve fight over batteries | Los Angeles Police ban use of third-party facial recognition software Senate passes bill to secure internet-connected devices against cyber vulnerabilities Democrats vent to Schumer over Senate majority failure MORE defeated incumbent Sen. Mark UdallMark Emery UdallHickenlooper ousts Gardner in Colorado, handing Democrats vital pickup Live updates: Democrats fight to take control of the Senate The 10 Senate seats most likely to flip MORE in 2014, he won with only 48.2 percent of the vote. In the five years since, Gardner has seen that high-water mark of personal favorability fall to a meager 36 percent approval, with 39 percent of Coloradans disapproving of his job as senator, according to Morning Consult ratings.

No other incumbent facing a serious 2020 challenge has struggled more in his relationship with President TrumpDonald John TrumpVenezuela judge orders prison time for 6 American oil executives Trump says he'll leave White House if Biden declared winner of Electoral College The Memo: Biden faces tough road on pledge to heal nation MORE than Gardner, most recently refusing five times in a video interview to answer questions about Trump’s dealings with Ukraine. Base Republicans will view this hesitation by Gardner as a betrayal, while independents, who helped deliver the win for Gardner in 2014, are already demanding greater accountability from their incumbent senator. Trump lost the Centennial State by 5 points in 2016 and holds just a 39 percent approval in the state. It would seem that Team Trump has already written off the once-competitive state for 2020, hosting zero large-scale rallies in Colorado during the 2018 midterms and since announcing his reelection effort.

In the same Emerson survey from August showing Trump massively underwater, former Gov. John Hickenlooper bests Gardner by 13 percent statewide, 53 percent to 40 percent, with just 8 percent undecided.

In Georgia during the last 60 years, only two Democrats have won the state in a presidential election: native son Jimmy CarterJimmy CarterCan Biden vanquish Democrats' old, debilitating ghosts? CNN acquires Joe Biden documentary 'President in Waiting' French radio station mistakenly publishes obituaries of celebrities MORE in 1976 and 1980 and Bill ClintonWilliam (Bill) Jefferson ClintonTrump says he'll leave White House if Biden declared winner of Electoral College Obama: 'Hopeless' to try to sell as many books as Michelle Dow breaks 30,000 for first time as Biden transition ramps up MORE in 1992. Clinton won just 13,714 votes more than then-President George H.W. Bush, and Georgia has been reliably red ever since.

Democrats see potential in 2020 in Georgia, and — in a nod to growing electoral prospects with two U.S. Senate seats in play — the Democratic National Committee is hosting its fifth presidential primary debate in Atlanta on Nov. 20. The candidates will take the stage in a state that has seen President Trump’s net approval drop by 17 percentage points since taking office — one of the largest declines in a red state. This steep drop could pull on Sen. David Perdue’s reelection prospects, as Perdue has “proudly wrapped himself in Trump’s top accomplishments and touted his close ties to the White House” on the campaign trail.

ADVERTISEMENT

You can bet that Democrats will nationalize both this election and race for the Senate seat being vacated by Sen. Johnny IsaksonJohnny IsaksonOssoff, Warnock to knock on doors in runoff campaigns Democrats urge YouTube to remove election misinformation, step up efforts ahead of Georgia runoff Democrats press Facebook, Twitter on misinformation efforts ahead of Georgia runoff MORE in December — as they did in the case of the GA-6 special election in 2017 that saw Jon Ossoff nearly flip a key congressional seat that was later won in 2018 by Congresswoman Lucy McBathLucia (Lucy) Kay McBathMaloney vows to overhaul a House Democratic campaign machine 'stuck in the past' Record number of Black women elected to Congress in 2020 McBath wins rematch against Handel in Georgia House race MORE.

In Iowa, freshman Sen. Joni ErnstJoni Kay ErnstThe Memo: Trump plows ahead with efforts to overturn election More conservatives break with Trump over election claims Peggy Noonan: 'Bogus dispute' by Trump 'doing real damage' MORE is the fourth-most unpopular incumbent senator in the country with just a 39 percent approval rating. Forty-three percent of Iowans disapprove of her job performance thus far. Trump’s standing is even worse in the Hawkeye State, where his net approval has decreased by 22 percentage points since taking office in 2017. Compounding these poll numbers, the leading Democrat in the race, Theresa Greenfield, raised more than $1.1 million in the most recent quarter, outpacing Ernst, who raised just under $1 million in Q3.

For more than two decades, Maine voters have seen fit to return Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsTwo more parting shots from Trump aimed squarely at disabled workers Trump transition order follows chorus of GOP criticism The Memo: Trump election loss roils right MORE to the United States Senate, most recently in 2014 with nearly 70 percent of the vote. Collins is the definition of an entrenched incumbent, but recent polling suggests significant cracks in Collins’s wall of inevitability. 

FiveThirtyEight ran a headline earlier this summer that said “Mitch McConnell is the only senator more unpopular than Susan Collins.” It detailed recent in-state polling showing that the senator’s approval rating was just 45 percent compared to 48 percent who disapproved. A new survey from Public Policy Polling from October paints an even bleaker picture of the incumbent’s standing with voters, with just 35 percent approving compared to 50 percent who disapprove. In the same poll, 53 percent of Mainers support impeaching Donald Trump, with just 44 percent opposed, a 7-point spread that is likely to widen as the impeachment probe moves to a public stage.

On the Maine money front, Team Blue’s presumptive nominee, state House Speaker Sara Gideon, significantly outraised Collins this past summer, raising $3.2 million to the incumbent’s $2.1 million. Collins has been preparing for this fight for a long time, however, and has a staggering $7.1 million cash on hand, a record for Maine.

ADVERTISEMENT

In North Carolina, this past week saw the death of former Sen. Kay HaganKay Ruthven Hagan10 under-the-radar races to watch in November The Hill's Campaign Report: Democratic Unity Taskforce unveils party platform recommendations Democrats awash with cash in battle for Senate MORE, who was elected to a single term in 2008. Hagan lost her reelection effort by just 1.5 percentage points in 2014 to Thom TillisThomas (Thom) Roland TillisNorth Carolina — still purple but up for grabs Team Trump offering 'fire hose' of conspiracy Kool-Aid for supporters Loeffler isolating after possible COVID-19 infection MORE, who was the Speaker of the North Carolina House of Representatives. In 2020, Tillis is facing electoral threats from both sides — a serious primary challenge from a wealthy Raleigh businessman and new polling from September that shows Democrat Cal Cunningham defeating the incumbent by 2 points, 45 to 43. Despite Trump winning North Carolina by nearly 4 points in 2016, his public support has crumbled in the state, falling 21 percent since taking office, which would provide little cover for Tillis at the top of the 2020 ballot.

There are a handful of pickup opportunities in the Senate for the GOP, most notably Sen. Doug Jones in Alabama, a state that Trump won with 62 percent of the vote. Trump remains popular in the state, but Jones is running a serious reelection effort and could buck the trends — especially if Roy MooreRoy Stewart MooreAlabama zeroes in on Richard Shelby's future Long-shot Espy campaign sees national boost in weeks before election Ocasio-Cortez slams Tulsi Gabbard for amplifying ballot harvesting video MORE finds himself as Team Red’s nominee again in 2020. The filing deadline in Alabama is fast approaching on Nov. 9, 2019. We will have a clearer picture of the race then, especially if former Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsAlabama zeroes in on Richard Shelby's future Tuberville incorrectly says Gore was president-elect in 2000 Next attorney general must embrace marijuana law reforms MORE, who held the seat previously, decides to get in.

Republicans are also hopeful in Michigan (Sen. Gary PetersGary PetersRepublican John James concedes in Michigan Senate race Hillicon Valley: YouTube suspends OANN amid lawmaker pressure | Dems probe Facebook, Twitter over Georgia runoff | FCC reaffirms ZTE's national security risk Democrats urge YouTube to remove election misinformation, step up efforts ahead of Georgia runoff MORE), Minnesota (Sen. Tina SmithTina Flint SmithSenate majority battle snags Biden Cabinet hopefuls Smith wins reelection in Minnesota Democrats expand Senate map, putting GOP on defense MORE) and in New Hampshire (Sen. Jeanne ShaheenCynthia (Jeanne) Jeanne ShaheenTop Democrat calls Trump's Afghan drawdown 'the right policy decision' as others warn of 'mistake' Overnight Defense: How members of the Armed Services committees fared in Tuesday's elections | Military ballots among those uncounted in too-close-to-call presidential race | Ninth US service member killed by COVID-19 Biden wins New Hampshire MORE), but all independent race handicappers don’t give a lot of hope to the GOP in those races.

Democrats have strong opportunities in Arizona, Colorado, Iowa, Maine and North Carolina and two opportunities in Georgia — more than enough to return the Senate to Democratic control in 2020, especially with Donald Trump at the top of the GOP ticket.

Kevin Walling (@kpwalling) is a Democratic strategist, Vice President at HGCreative, co-founder of Celtic Strategies, and a regular guest on Fox News and Fox Business.