In a column in the Washington Post, conservative Jennifer Rubin warned Republican incumbents they may lose re-election in 2020 if they don’t make a public break with Donald Trump before it’s too late.
According to the columnist, Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) heads a list of endangered GOP incumbents if the polls are any indication.
“Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), who has always pitched herself as a pro-choice moderate, has nosedived in the polls since voting to pass Trump’s tax plan and to confirm Supreme Court Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh,” Rubin writes, adding, “From a 67 percent/27 percent favorable/unfavorable rating in the first quarter of 2017, she has sunk to 52 percent/39 percent. She’s 25 net points underwater with Democrats.”
Speaking with Rubin, NARAL Pro-Choice America president Ilyse Hogue explained that Collins has only herself to blame, explaining Collins’ “slide in popularity is a problem of her own making. Instead of [using] the Kavanaugh moment to cap a career of commitment to women, she chose to cover for a corrupt president, a breach of the trust of voters who won’t forget in 2020.”
Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) faces a similar dilemma in his state which is not a Trump stronghold to begin with.
“[Gardener] who won in 2014 by presenting himself as an advocate for women (e.g. stressing access to over-the-counter contraception). In 2017, he started with a 49/30 favorable margin. Now he is at 35/35,” Rubin reported. “If a favorable rating below 50 percent is warning sign for an incumbent, Gardner already has a three-alarm fire on his hands. Provided Democrats run a minimally successful presidential race, he’s very likely political toast.”
Rubin also notes that Trump fatigue is dragging down candidates in conservative states where re-election should be a breeze writing, “Go down the list of 2020 GOP incumbents on the ballot, and you see a similar pattern. Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) has slid from a 39/30 approval/disapproval split to 34/33; Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) tumbled from 44/47 to 36/50; and Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) fell from 47/37 to 40/37. These politicians’ Trump sycophancy could well cost them their seats.”
According to the columnist, candidates who are in tough races have two choices: continue to back Trump and go down on flames, or risk his wrath and shore up support from the voters who are fleeing them.
“All these Republicans will oppose any effort to impeach Trump (leaving them with a President Pence) and will doggedly support him for reelection, when they instead could have any other Republican — one whose tax plan was not a bust, who didn’t engage in obstructionist behavior and continue to lie about it, who isn’t slavishly devoted to tyrants and who evidences again and again that he is unfit for the job,” she lectured. “No, instead of any other Republican, they want to run with Trump at the top of the ticket. Go figure.”
Calling Republicans “craven” for standing by and trashing their party, Rubin wrote their political obituaries: “They tried trading their honor for political security and now have neither.”
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