Mark Mellman: Three questions for Republicans

Mark Mellman: Three questions for Republicans
© Aaron Schwartz

Not long ago, Republicans were pressing journalists to ask every Democrat whether they would vote for Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiKlobuchar shuts down idea a woman can't beat Trump: 'Pelosi does it every day' Budowsky: Trump destroying GOP in 2018, '19, '20 On The Money: Senate scraps plan to force second shutdown vote | Trump tax breaks for low-income neighborhoods draw scrutiny | McConnell rips House Dems for holding up trade deal MORE as Speaker of the House. 

Donald Trump chortled at the mention of her name, calling Pelosi the GOP’s “secret weapon” in the midterms, while party strategist Corry Bliss proclaimed his gratitude that “the Republican Party still has Nancy Pelosi, because Nancy Pelosi is absolutely toxic.”

GOPers turned out to be dead wrong. They were badly beaten in the midterms and have all but given up on taking the House from Speaker Pelosi this cycle. 

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This election cycle, though, there are some questions that should be put to every Republican candidate.

 

Do you support Sen. Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellOvernight Health Care: Fireworks on health care expected at Dem debate | Trump FDA pick dodges on vaping ban | Trump to host meeting on youth vaping Friday | AMA calls for immediate vaping ban GOP senator blocks vote on House-passed Violence Against Women Act On The Money: Senate scraps plan to force second shutdown vote | Trump tax breaks for low-income neighborhoods draw scrutiny | McConnell rips House Dems for holding up trade deal MORE as Senate majority leader?

First, “Do you support Sen. Mitch McConnell as Senate majority leader?”

Moscow Mitch enabled Russia’s interference in the 2016 election, refuses to secure future elections against foreign manipulation, displays unmatched hypocrisy, opposes Americans exercising their right to vote (if they aren’t voting for him), and has used the filibuster to block more legislation with majority support than any senator in history.

That’s only a small part of why Moscow Mitch is the most widely disliked politician in the country.

That’s right — more Americans disapprove of Mitch McConnell than of President TrumpDonald John TrumpFive takeaways from the Democratic debate As Buttigieg rises, Biden is still the target Leading Democrats largely pull punches at debate MORE. On average, about 55 percent disapprove of the president’s performance, while a slightly higher 57 percent disapprove of McConnell’s.

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The Kentucky senator also holds onto fewer supporters than Trump — 41 percent approve of Trump, but only 24 percent approve of McConnell.

While Trump and McConnell work to make Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezSteyer, Biden clash over climate credentials Trump tax breaks for low-income neighborhoods draw scrutiny Sanders doubles down on Bolivia 'coup,' few follow suit MORE (D-N.Y.) the face of the Democratic Party, they forget that, while she’s not popular, more Americans dislike them than dislike her.

Usually politicians can take some comfort from the people back home who know them best. Not so, McConnell. 

According to Morning Consult polling, no senator is more widely disliked by their constituents than Mitch McConnell. Just 37 percent of Kentuckians approve of his performance, while 50 percent disapprove.

So, ask every Republican candidate, “Do you support Sen. Mitch McConnell as Senate majority leader?”

 

Should politicians be permitted to ask foreign governments to help them in their campaigns?

Here’s a second question all GOPers should be asked: “Should politicians be permitted to ask foreign governments to help them in their campaigns?”

Trump has made it clear he thinks it is perfectly proper to solicit foreign assistance.

Vice President Pence, along with Sens. Cory GardnerCory Scott GardnerFeehery: Pivoting to infrastructure could help heal post-impeachment wounds Tariffs threaten 1.5M jobs: Study This week: House kicks off public phase of impeachment inquiry MORE (R-Colo.), Joni ErnstJoni Kay ErnstGOP senator blocks vote on House-passed Violence Against Women Act Tensions rise in Senate's legislative 'graveyard' 2020 Republicans accuse Schumer of snubbing legislation MORE (R-Iowa), and Martha McSallyMartha Elizabeth McSallyProgressive group to spend as much as M to turn out young voters This week: House kicks off public phase of impeachment inquiry Progressive veterans group launches campaign labeling Trump as a 'national security threat' MORE (R-Ariz.), among others, refuse to answer the question.

They dodge it, launching into a discussion of an investigation into whether the president did such a thing.

Of course, that’s not the question. They’re being asked, irrespective of the impeachment inquiry, in principle, if it is appropriate for U.S. politicians to ask foreign governments to help them win elections.

Are the GOP question dodgers really suggesting that their view on whether seeking foreign interference is right or wrong depends upon whether the president did it? 

Voters are clear on the answer, even if Republican politicians are not.

Sixty-six percent told Quinnipiac pollsters it “is not acceptable … for the president of the United States to ask a foreign leader to investigate a political rival.” Just 24 percent said it was acceptable.

Why can’t Republican politicians answer a question about fundamental principles that’s so easy for the public to answer?

 

Do you think President Trump upholds adequate standards for ethics in government?

Here’s one more that hasn’t been asked of many GOPers, but should be: “Do you think President Trump upholds adequate standards for ethics in government?”

That too is different from asking whether he should be impeached and removed from office. 

Only 36 percent of Americans think Trump upholds adequate ethical standards, while 60 percent think he does not.

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Wouldn’t you like to know how Republican candidates for Senate and Congress would answer these questions?

Don’t you deserve some answers?

Insist on them. 

Mellman is president of The Mellman Group and has helped elect 30 U.S. senators, 12 governors and dozens of House members. Mellman served as pollster to Senate Democratic leaders for over 20 years and as president of the American Association of Political Consultants.