Political establishment takes a hit as chaos reigns supreme

Political establishment takes a hit as chaos reigns supreme
© Greg Nash

More than 120,000 people have died from the COVID-19 pandemic, racial tensions are higher than they’ve been since the 1960’s and the economy has tanked. So it shouldn’t be a surprise that four out of every five Americans think things in this country are out of control.  

Since chaos in this country reigns supreme, it should not be a shock that the political establishment has taken a big hit. The Democratic establishment took one (or a few) on the chin in primaries last week in New York City and in Kentucky. On the Republican side of the aisle, the party’s leader President Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpDeSantis on Florida schools reopening: 'If you can do Walmart,' then 'we absolutely can do schools' NYT editorial board calls for the reopening of schools with help from federal government's 'checkbook' Mueller pens WaPo op-ed: Roger Stone 'remains a convicted felon, and rightly so' MORE hit a low point in his campaign for a second term.

In New York, the contest was a study in contrasts. Democratic Rep. and chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee Eliot EngelEliot Lance EngelChina must be held accountable for its egregious actions against Hong Kong Voice of America not extending foreign journalists' visas: report New York candidates left on hold as primary results trickle in MORE, a white man, lost his campaign for a 16th term to Jamaal Bowman, an African American man who is a former middle school principal. 

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The outcome of the Democratic primary in the Bluegrass State, which will decide who will face off against Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellHillicon Valley: Facebook considers political ad ban | Senators raise concerns over civil rights audit | Amazon reverses on telling workers to delete TikTok Ernst: Renaming Confederate bases is the 'right thing to do' despite 'heck' from GOP Advocacy groups pressure Senate to reconvene and boost election funding MORE (R-Ky.) in November, is still in doubt. Early returns have State Representative Charles Booker, a progressive, leading former Marine pilot Amy McGrath. If Booker does prevail after the mail-in ballots are counted, it will be a major upset. After all, McGrath secured the endorsement of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and raised more than 40 million dollars. Booker spent a small fraction of that, but his campaign caught on when he participated in demonstrations against the killing of an African American E.M.T. Breonna Taylor by Louisville, Ky., police.

The big surge of support for Black candidates after George Floyd’s murder played a role in the outcome of the Bowman and Booker campaigns. The other factor was the endorsements the candidates received from the iron triangle of anti-establishment, leftist lawmakers Sens. Bernie SandersBernie SandersBiden wins Louisiana primary Oh, Canada: Should the US emulate Canada's National Health Service? Trump glosses over virus surge during Florida trip MORE (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenTrump defends Roger Stone move: He was target of 'Witch Hunt' Democrats blast Trump for commuting Roger Stone: 'The most corrupt president in history' Pharma pricing is a problem, but antitrust isn't the (only) solution MORE (D-Mass.) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezGoya CEO dismisses critics for praise of Trump: 'I'm not apologizing' Trump tweets his support for Goya Foods amid boycott Hispanic Caucus requests meeting with private detention center CEOs MORE (D-N.Y.). AOC handily won her own primary last week. The growing influence of the progressive power trio represents a significant challenge to the Democratic leaders in Congress, House Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiAs coronavirus surges, Trump tries to dismantle healthcare for millions Sunday shows preview: Coronavirus poses questions about school safety; Trump commutes Roger Stone sentence Pelosi plans legislation to limit pardons, commutations after Roger Stone move MORE (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck SchumerChuck SchumerDemocrats blast Trump for commuting Roger Stone: 'The most corrupt president in history' A renewed emphasis on research and development funding is needed from the government Data shows seven Senate Democrats have majority non-white staffs MORE (D-N.Y.).

As worrisome as it is to be part of the Democratic leadership, it’s a lot worse to be a power player in the GOP. Donald Trump took over the party lock, stock and barrel in 2016 and now the tides seem to be shifting away from him.

Not only does the GOP establishment have to cope with an American electorate that is disillusioned with the status quo in the U.S., it has the added burden of the crushing weight of a president who has bottomed out when it comes to job approval.

The most telling sign of Trump’s decline was his sad standing in the battleground states of Arizona, Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Joe BidenJoe BidenDonald Trump Jr. to self-publish book 'Liberal Privilege' before GOP convention Tom Price: Here's how we can obtain more affordable care The Memo: Democrats feel rising tide in Florida MORE led Trump in each of the six states by at least six percent. If Biden holds his lead in these states, the Democratic candidate will succeed by a massive Electoral College landslide. 

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With Trump in the polling dump, the GOP is in danger of being shut out at the national level. In this political environment, Republicans have little chance of winning a majority in the House of Republicans and could lose control of the Senate. McConnell faces a challenge for his own seat this year, which ultimately could mean losing his control of the Senate. If Biden wins, Democrats need a net gain of only three seats to take control of the Senate. Polls indicate that several Republican senators, including Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsMore Republicans should support crisis aid for the Postal Service GOP senators voice confidence over uphill Senate battle Republicans considering an outdoor stadium for Florida convention: report MORE (Maine), Martha McSallyMartha Elizabeth McSallySenate GOP hedges on attending Trump's convention amid coronavirus uptick Koch-backed group urges Senate to oppose 'bailouts' of states in new ads Lincoln Project offers list of GOP senators who 'protect' Trump in new ad MORE (Ariz.), Thom TillisThomas (Thom) Roland TillisDemocrats seek to tie GOP candidates to Trump, DeVos Senate GOP hedges on attending Trump's convention amid coronavirus uptick Lincoln Project offers list of GOP senators who 'protect' Trump in new ad MORE (N.C.), Cory GardnerCory Scott GardnerDemocrats seek to tie GOP candidates to Trump, DeVos Senate GOP hedges on attending Trump's convention amid coronavirus uptick Finger-pointing, gridlock spark frustration in Senate MORE (Colo.), Steve DainesSteven (Steve) David DainesMore Republicans should support crisis aid for the Postal Service Senate GOP hedges on attending Trump's convention amid coronavirus uptick Finger-pointing, gridlock spark frustration in Senate MORE (Mont.) and both incumbents in Georgia are facing serious threats to their re-election. 

With the leader of their party at a low ebb, Republicans are starting to jump off the sinking ship. Last week corporate power player and former Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina endorsed Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden. Also last week, dozens of national security experts who served Republican presidents also expressed their support for Biden. 

A group of Republican activists and strategists under the banner of the Lincoln Project continue to batter the president with blistering television ads

Chaos will always rock the political establishment. For Democrats, this means a shift in power away from the pragmatic wing of the party to the progressive wing. The upheaval will be even worse for the GOP establishment because it means a shift out of power completely. That’s the price Republicans will pay for their blind loyalty to Donald Trump.

Brad Bannon is a Democratic pollster and CEO of Bannon Communications Research. He is also the host of a radio podcast “Dateline D.C. With Brad Bannon” that airs on the Progressive Voices Network. Follow him on Twitter @BradBannon.