Republicans are exploring a new strategy where they will admit to voters that Donald Trump is going to lose to Hillary Clinton in an attempt to save their majorities in the House and Senate.
Republicans, worried about preserving their House and Senate majorities in the face of fierce headwinds, are accelerating their plans to distance themselves from Donald Trump – and may soon concede, if only implicitly, his defeat.
Party strategists are mapping out blueprints for down-ballot candidates, in TV ads and on the campaign trail, to present themselves as checks on a Hillary Clinton presidency. It’s an approach that would essentially admit a Trump loss. In interviews, nearly one dozen Republican operatives said they had begun poll-testing the idea – which one labeled a “break glass in case of emergency” strategy – to gauge how the public would react to it.
The admitting the nominee’s defeat in an attempt to cut losses elsewhere is a strategy that hasn’t been used since Bob Dole in 1996. Republicans would be hoping that history would repeat itself as Bill Clinton got a big win, but Republicans limited Democratic House gains to three seats and kept their House majority. Democrats gained two Senate seats and kept control of the Senate.
The reason why history is unlikely to repeat itself is that Hillary Clinton is running a different campaign than Bill Clinton ran twenty years ago. In 1996, Bill Clinton didn’t campaign for a Democratic Congress, but Hillary Clinton has made taking back Congress a key part of her campaign’s message.
The presidential election has yet to reach Labor Day, but Republicans are already testing out the possibility of admitting White House defeat to their supporters. In the modern polarized domestic political environment, the Republican Party is running the risk of depressing their own voter turnout and turning a Democratic victory into a landslide if they give up on Trump.
It is increasingly likely that Republicans are going to cut off his funding and bail on Donald Trump. The question that is being weighed now is whether or not they publicly write off the White House.
Either way, it looks like the GOP is getting set to abandon Trump.
Mr. Easley is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association