With extreme gerrymanders locking in, Biden needs to make democracy preservation job one
President Trump and Republicans could face trouble this November
President Trump has announced new federal guidelines for reopening the country that place responsibility on governors on how to restart business and end the stay home orders in their states. This comes as health experts and lawmakers across the nation continue to call on the administration to expand coronavirus testing, which is still critically lacking. The admission that governors will be in charge marked a reversal from earlier in the week when Trump claimed that he had "total authority" over such decisions. He then called for the "liberation" of three states, inciting his followers there to revolt against their governors and protest the stay home orders.
With more than 22 million Americans unemployed and an entire decade of job gains gone, the inability to stick to a cohesive message and choice to divide the country by playing to his base will cost Trump and Republicans in the election. The approval ratings and polling positions of the president have fallen across the nation and in crucial swing states, so his weakened position and erratic narrative will also likely hurt Republicans in key down ballot races. Together with lagging Republican fundraising, this reveals a party that is potentially looking at a substantial defeat in November.
Just this month, the approval rating of Trump has fallen from 49 percent to 43 percent, according to a new Gallup poll. Further, almost 50 percent of Americans approved of how the president was handling the pandemic last month, while 46 percent disapproved. But now almost 50 percent of Americans disapproving of his handling of the coronavirus, according to the Five Thirty Eight average. Moreover, Trump is now performing poorly in swing states like Arizona, Florida, and Michigan, as Republican down ballot candidates in these states are experiencing a ripple effect.
In Arizona, once a reliable Republican stronghold, Joe Biden leads Trump 52 percent to 43 percent, according to a Predictive Insights poll. Further, opposition to Trump is also trickling down the ballot in Arizona. The same poll finds Democratic challenger Mark Kelly leading Republican Senator Martha McSally 51 percent to 42 percent in this key race to watch.
In Florida, a state Trump won in 2016 that has trended red, current polling numbers should be concerning for the president and Republicans. Biden leads Trump 46 percent to 40 percent, according to a University of North Florida survey. Additionally, 53 percent of voters in Florida disapprove of his handling of the coronavirus, while only 46 percent approve.
In Michigan, a state Trump won in 2016, Biden now leads by 46 percent to 42 percent, according to the Real Clear Politics average. Moreover, Biden leads Trump 48 percent to 45 percent, a Public Policy Polling survey finds. The president also faces a motivated Democratic base in Michigan, with a 32 percent increase in participation in the Democratic primary.
However, the most substantive concern for Trump and Republicans will be Democratic fundraising lead in down ballot races. In the 10 Senate races deemed either toss ups or slightly leaning toward one party, Democratic candidates outraised Republican candidates, with $44 million compared to $36 million, the Cook Political Report and campaign data show.
In Arizona, Kelly raised $11 million in the first quarter, while McSally raised $6 million. In Maine, Democratic challenger Sara Gideon raised $7 million, while Republican Senator Susan Collins raised $2 million. Further, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Republican Senator Lindsey Graham have been widely outraised by their Democratic challengers. In Kentucky, Amy McGrath raised $5 million more than McConnell. Moreover, in South Carolina, Jaime Harrison raised nearly $2 million more than Graham.
The current polling and fundraising data could spell electoral trouble for Republicans, who are looking to reelect Trump and maintain their Senate majority. An incumbent president has not lost an election in 28 years, but these are unprecedented times. If Trump will continuously fail to deliver a bipartisan message and steady hand amidst the pandemic, Republicans could be looking at a substantial defeat in the election in November.
Douglas Schoen is a consultant who served as an adviser to President Bill Clinton and to the campaign of Mayor Michael Bloomberg. His latest book is "Collapse: A World in Crisis and the Urgency of American Leadership."