Studies show that Democrats are outperforming Republicans as America revs up for the final stretch of the 2020 presidential election. A headline Friday by NBC News touted, "The president is likely toast': Trump's woes raise GOP fears of a blue wave" and Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), 65, is among the many pro-Trump GOP candidates running for re-election without a commitment to get tested for COVID-19 before resuming work in the senate. Is it too late for Republicans to distance themselves from President Donald J. Trump?
The Washington Post columnist Jennifer Rubin wrote Sunday, "The big problem is that Senate Republicans wrapped themselves so tightly around Trump — defending his plainly impeachable conduct in the Senate trial, excusing his covid-denialism, ignoring his racist language and incitement to violence and declining to stop his financial self-dealing — that it’s too late to scurry away from the sinking Trump ship. When the GOP eschewed a convention platform this summer in favor of heaping praise on Trump, Republicans made clear that they have no position other than Trump idolatry. Even now, they seem not to have learned anything."
Rubin added, "The crazier Trump seems in the last stretch (pleading for indictments of his political opponents, recklessly spreading covid-19, on-again-off-again stimulus negotiations), the more pathetic the Republicans who enabled him look. This is the guy you said had it all figured out? This was the guy you defended as a victim of liberal elites? These Republicans long ago threw away independent judgment, character, responsiveness to the voters back home and honesty, for fear of provoking Trump’s ire or the condemnation of the right-wing media and the MAGA crowd. It turns out winning is awfully hard, even in red states, when your Trump sycophancy horrifies women, college-educated voters, non-White voters, young voters and seniors. Money is the least of Republicans’ troubles."
“In 2016, the president was a buoy. In 2020, he’s more of an anchor," Republican strategist Ken Spain told NBC News. "There’s no question there are going to be losses down the ballot. Six months ago, Republicans were hoping that we would be talking about Senate races in Colorado, Arizona and Maine. Instead, there’s concern about the potential outcomes in states like South Carolina, Georgia and Kansas.”
Spain added, “The president has had possibly the worst two-week stretch that a candidate could have going into the final month of an election."
Graham's opponent is South Carolina Democrat Jaime Harrison, 44, and to date, his campaign has raised a record-breaking $57 million in the last three months. This amount surpasses Rep. Beto O'Rourke's (D-TX) previous record by $20 million against Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX).
"This campaign is making history, because we’re focused on restoring hope back to South Carolina," said Guy King, a spokesperson for Harrison's campaign. "After 25 years in Washington, Lindsey Graham has changed into someone voters no longer recognize, and these resources will be instrumental in our efforts to send Lindsey home in November."
“If Biden is truly close to being double digits ahead, then there’s no chance that we hold the Senate,” said Dan Eberhart, a Republican donor and an oil and gas executive who supports Trump. “If 2016 was a vote against Hillary [Clinton] and Trump has turned 2020 into a referendum against him, I wonder if some of these Senate candidates can hold on."
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), 78, is beginning to distance himself from Trump, but only recently. On Thursday, McConnell told supporters on a campaign stop in Kentucky that he hasn't visited the White House since Aug. 6 because "their approach how to handle this [coronavirus] is different from mine and what I insisted that we do in the Senate, which is to wear a mask and practice social distancing.” McConnell did add that he talks to Trump on the phone "a lot," however.
McConnell is running for re-election in Kentucky against Democratic candidate and U.S. Marine Corps veteran Amy McGrath. According to Wave 3 News in Louisville, Kentucky, McGrath's request is that the two candidates be tested for COVID-19 before debating Sunday night since McConnell has been around COVID-19 positive individuals recently. The results are to be presented ahead of the debate. McConnell has yet to comment on her request.
“The burden is now placed on Senate and House Republicans to establish their own personal brands and differentiate themselves,” Spain said. “But in most cases, Republicans have tethered themselves to the president.”