They wanted their campaign message to focus on how great the economy is. But instead he has made sure the election is all about him.
With his packed schedule of campaign rallies he has incited his supporters’ paranoid fantasies about an invasion of immigrants. He claims that Democrats want to open the U.S. borders and let hordes of criminals take over the country.
The Republican campaign message has been totally lost, and more and more members of the party are speaking out. They are expressing their unhappiness with what Trump has done over the past month of campaigning.
They now believe that he is costing them the midterm election. House candidates say he has given up on them completely, by focusing on the U.S. Senate where he will take credit if Republicans maintain control.
Although the president’s anti-immigrant message may help a few GOP Senate candidates in rural red states, it is hurting all Republicans in suburban House districts, according to a new report in POLITICO.
“Trump hijacking the election is not what we expected the final weeks of the election to focus on,” said one senior House Republican aide.
Current Speaker of the House Paul Ryan reportedly begged Trump on Sunday to promote the economy in his last campaign rallies before Election Day. Trump, however, said that his focus on immigration had fired up the GOP base and he would not change his approach.
“His honing in on this message is going to cost us seats,” said one senior GOP official. “The people we need to win in these swing districts that will determine the majority, it’s not the Trump base; it’s suburban women, or people who voted for Hillary Clinton or people who are not hard Trump voters.”
According to POLITICO:
“The disagreement highlights the tug-of-war over strategy that’s been dogging the GOP all year: Should Republicans prioritize turning out Trump backers, or appeal to suburban swing voters?”
“The party has diverged according to the chamber: Senate Republicans seeking to grow their majorities in rural, red states by toppling incumbent Democrats have mostly welcomed Trump’s red-meat approach; House Republicans whose survival hinges on the suburbs have privately griped and tried to change the subject.”
Explaining why he was mostly ignoring the economy, Trump said, “We can talk about the economy, but the fact is, we know how well we’re doing with the economy and we have to solve problems.”
Then he added:
“Democrats are openly encouraging millions of illegal aliens to break our laws, violate our sovereignty, overrun our borders and destroy our nation. In so many ways. We can’t let it happen.”
What Donald Trump has done in 2018 is begin campaigning for his 2020 reelection. And he has decided to go back to the same nativist, anti-immigrant rhetoric that he believes got him elected in 2016. If GOP candidates are harmed by that, then tough luck. He doesn’t really care about them. He cares only about himself.
And nobody should be surprised by that.
I am a lifelong Democrat with a passion for social justice and progressive issues. I have degrees in writing, economics and law from the University of Iowa.