In my column last week, I noted that current public opinion data and recent election results point to a likely Democratic takeover of the House in the fall.
Some argue President Donald Trump’s unpopularity is already baked into the election cake, leaving Republicans little room to maneuver. But if you are a GOP strategist or ally of the president, you still need to formulate a plan to improve your party’s prospects and even look toward 2020.
Is there anything Republicans can do to change the trajectory of the election cycle? And if there isn’t, would a disaster for congressional Republicans in November automatically be a political disaster for Trump?One veteran GOP campaign operative who is sympathetic to the president acknowledged something that should trouble Republicans on Capitol Hill: “Trump just endorsing a nominee is not enough. He can’t bring people out without issues.”
That conclusion seems reasonable given the Democrats’ advantage on enthusiasm and after the special election in Pennsylvania’s 18th District. Trump traveled to southwestern Pennsylvania to rally support for Republican nominee Rick Saccone, but the president couldn’t move the needle enough even in a district he had carried by 20 points in 2016.
He’s not alone. Previous presidents with strong personal followings also found their popularity didn’t transfer to their party when they were not on the ballot.