Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is the most powerful person in the Senate — and the most hated. Even in his own state, he polls in the low 30s.
It's not hard to see why. Aside from the fact that the six-term senator is everyone's first image of a career politician, party leaders make easy punching bags — he's the face of obstruction for Democrats, and the scapegoat for inaction for Republicans.
A new profile by The Daily Beast reveals how McConnell is handling this toxic image moving forward into his re-election campaign for 2020. The short answer is: He is rebranding himself as an internet troll.
In April, McConnell's campaign website adopted an image of Merrick Garland as its 404 error page, fully embracing liberal outrage over his infamous move to block the judge for a Supreme Court seat in 2016.
He also released a video of himself smiling as GOP accomplishments appear on screen, set to DJ Khaled's "All I Do Is Win."
Wow the 30 second version of the Mitch McConnell video is way different... #KYSen https://t.co/zaarkcv0Pj— Sami Gilkes (@Sami Gilkes)1555515869.0
McConnell has been testing this strategy for months.
Last year, convicted criminal and former coal baron Don Blankenship ran a Senate primary campaign in West Virginia primarily by attacking McConnell, calling him "Cocaine Mitch" — a reference to how cocaine was found on board a vessel owned by McConnell's father-in-law, shipping magnate James Chao. After Blankenship lost the primary, McConnell's campaign tweeted out a picture of McConnell superimposed on a dramatized image of drug kingpin Pablo Escobar from the Netflix series "Narcos," surrounded by billowing clouds of cocaine:
Thanks for playing, @DonBlankenship. #WVSen https://t.co/TV1ETgQdmu— Team Mitch (Text MITCH to 47360) (@Team Mitch (Text MITCH to 47360))1525831863.0
McConnell evidently hopes that if he can make conservatives laugh, he will be home free.