How well Republicans fare in the upcoming elections is inextricably linked to how President Trump handles this crisis.
There was one thing United States President Donald Trump has been betting on to use as ammo for the upcoming elections: the flourishing economy. However, as the economy crumbles in the face of one of the worst public health crises that the country has ever endured, that's no longer the case. While Trump seems confident in his ability to still win himself another term, the GOP isn't too sure. Republican strategists have grown increasingly nervous about the possibility of losing Congress to Democrats due to the President's mishandling of the ongoing crisis, The Washington Post reports. So far, polling has shown that there is a shift towards voting blue across the board.
One Republican strategist currently involved in the Senate races, speaking on the condition of anonymity, revealed that there were deep concerns within the party. "It is a bleak picture right now all across the map, to be honest with you," he said. "This whole conversation is a referendum on Trump, and that is a bad place for Republicans to be. But it’s also not a forever place." Those fighting key races, such as Senators Susan Collins of Maine and Thom Tillis of North Carolina, are especially concerned. These Senators are expected to "hold the line," but with every new statement Trump makes, they aren't too optimistic about the prospects.
Our president. pic.twitter.com/TjrWXodHVq— Bill Kristol (@BillKristol) May 5, 2020
Another Republican, also involved in the Senate races, stated, "The political environment is not as favorable as it was a few months ago." Strategists believe that their prospects will be brighter once the nation returns to normalcy. Though Republicans may hope for normality to be restored soon, experts have indicated that the public health crisis may last well into next year. The November elections will definitely be held in the midst of a raging pandemic. It has also been assumed that Democratic Senators are benefitting greatly from a lack of scrutiny of their own campaigns while the press is focused on reports about the ongoing pandemic. Additionally, all the negative press Trump has been receiving as of late has also worked in their favor.
Coronavirus was called “a Democratic hoax” by @realDonaldTrump just weeks ago. Now 11 Secret Service employees are infected + 60 in self-quarantine. Two staffers working close to #POTUS tested positive. That’s why I’ve been HOME & not in the briefing room! https://t.co/h81M7OcFjb— AprilDRyan (@AprilDRyan) May 9, 2020
Democrats, however, do not agree with this analysis. They argue that their progress comes from dedicated campaigning and grassroots funding. Stewart Boss, a spokesman for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, explained, "Democrats have expanded the Senate map and put Mitch McConnell’s majority at risk with impressive challengers, record-breaking grass-roots fundraising, and a focus on the issues that matter most to voters like defending coverage protections for preexisting conditions." The pandemic has highlighted particularly the need for a universal healthcare system, a stronghold of many Democrats' campaigns.
20 million people lost their jobs last month.— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) May 9, 2020
The American people do not want their health care tied to their employment.
They want Medicare for All. https://t.co/Y8Zb2BOZDU
Trump's handling of the crisis has proven one thing. How well Republicans fare in the upcoming elections will be inextricably linked to the President's success. "I think the one issue in this campaign - this particular election - is going to be how did we respond to this crisis? I think all other considerations are going to be secondary," said Republican Senator John Cornyn. "If you’re an incumbent, you can demonstrate how you would react to the crisis by actually doing it." If Republicans have to defend Trump and the way he's reacted to the crisis, they may just kiss their seats in Congress goodbye.