IF YOU LISTEN TO PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP, Republicans are poised to win big in the midterms, keep control in Washington and win in a landslide in 2020. Nothing to worry about, folks.
BUT THAT’S A STARK CONTRAST to the vast majority of Republican operatives who are increasingly raising the alarm bells that Republicans could lose control not only of the House but, potentially, the Senate.
VETERAN POLITICAL HANDICAPPERS like Stu Rothenberg this week have begun to publicly muse that Democrats have a pathway to win the majority based on recent polling in states like Missouri, Indiana and Tennessee. Even typically sure things like Sen. Ted Cruz in Texas is causing Republicans heartburn with Beto O’Rourke making the Lone Star State surprisingly competitive.
THERE IS A GROWING FEAR among GOP political operatives that Trump could depress turnout in the midterms by constantly telling his supporters that Republicans are going to do well in November and not ringing the alarm bells that they need to stave off a blue wave.
ADDING TO THE CONCERN: There’s an increasing sense that the midterms could become a referendum on Trump’s governing style which could lead to a blowout for Republicans. WAPO’s Ashley Parker and Phil Rucker: “Trump colors the fall campaign landscape: ‘He’s been the only thing that matters’”
CASE IN POINT — @realDonalTrump at 9:47 p.m.: “The Dems have tried every trick in the playbook-call me everything under the sun. But if I’m all of those terrible things, how come I beat them so badly, 306-223? Maybe they’re just not very good! The fact is they are going CRAZY only because they know they can’t beat me in 2020!”
… at 9:38 p.m.: “Republicans are doing really well with the Senate Midterms. Races that we were not even thinking about winning are now very close, or even leading. Election night will be very interesting indeed!”
… at 10:42 a.m.: “Wow, NFL first game ratings are way down over an already really bad last year comparison. Viewership declined 13%, the lowest in over a decade. If the players stood proudly for our Flag and Anthem, and it is all shown on broadcast, maybe ratings could come back? Otherwise worse!”