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‘This spells disaster’: Columnist says GOP is heading for a wipeout in the Senate — and beyond

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Sen. Mitch McConnell, photo by Gage Skidmore

On Wednesday, writing for The Washington Post, columnist Henry Olsen said the electoral signs are getting grimmer for the GOP by the day — for their prospects of maintaining control of the Senate, but also of their seats further down the ballot.

“Elections in both the House and Senate are increasingly syncing with broader presidential races,” wrote Olsen. “In 2016, every Senate race was won by the same party that won that state in the presidential contest. In 2018, House races largely correlated with Trump’s approval rating, with even the most popular GOP incumbents unable to run more than a few points ahead of the president. Polls for Senate races this year show the same trend, with Republican incumbents’ totals closely matched with Trump’s. This spells disaster for the party.”

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“Public polls show incumbent Senate Republicans trailing in five states: Arizona, Colorado, Iowa, Maine and North Carolina,” said Olsen, noting that polls are also close in Georgia. And “it could get even worse. A University of Montana poll conducted last month shows Democratic challenger Steve Bullock ahead of Republican incumbent Steve Daines 47 percent to 43 percent, even as Trump is winning the state with 52 percent support.” In a nightmare scenario for the GOP, he argued, there are even signs they could lose Kansas and Alaska. And Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) appears to know the risk.

But the Senate is not all that is at stake for the GOP, wrote Olsen.

“Republicans also look set to lose House seats if trends don’t improve,” he wrote. “Throughout 2020, Democrats have led the national generic ballot, which asks respondents whose party’s House candidate they would support … Losing this November by 10 points or more would almost guarantee further GOP House losses, entrenching Democratic rule in the House even further.”

And then there are the state legislative contests, which will decide redistricting for a decade. “Another Democratic landslide could hand them control of a number of key legislative chambers, the most important being the Texas State House. Republicans in Austin hold an 83-to-67 advantage, but they lost 12 seats in 2018, and Democratic Senate candidate Beto O’Rourke won nine districts currently represented by Republicans. If Democrats were to win control, it would eliminate Republican control over redistricting in a state that is expected to send 39 members to the House after the post-census reapportionment.”

“Things could get better. Republicans would hold many seats at all levels if Trump were to lose by only six points rather than 11 or more,” added Olsen. “Right now, though, for Republicans nationwide, that feels a lot like holding the deck chairs on the Titanic.”

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