Many people in Washington now believe that Republicans need to change their strategy in order to avoid losing control of the U.S. Senate after the 2020 elections.
Conservative Jennifer Rubin sounded the alarm for Republicans in her Washington Post column, but she is not the only one who is aware of the problem. She says that if GOP senators keep sucking up to Trump they face a potential senate wipeout in 2020.
There are two reasons for this:
- Unlike 2018, Republicans are facing a much tougher re-election map for the Senate in 2020.
- The GOP will be severely harmed with Trump at the top of the ticket, due to his historically low approval ratings (and historically high disapproval ratings).
“So far, the 34 Senate contests on the ballot in 2020 feature 12 Democratic incumbents, 20 Republican incumbents and two GOP open seats. And only one incumbent — GOP U.S. Sen. John Cornyn of Texas — has a war chest over $5 million.”
Rubin points out what everyone knows: Senate incumbents’ “political future is now inextricably bound with Trump’s.”
“If Trump is polling around 40 percent, the final report from special counsel Robert S. Mueller III is damning, and the economy, as many experts predict, has cooled off, you do wonder whether Republican senators might be more inclined to turn on the president, pressuring him to step down (with the implicit threat of impeachment proceedings hanging over them).”
“Presently, the concern for Senate Republicans should be: What, other than the shutdown, the attempt to end the Affordable Care Act and passage of the unpopular tax cut can they claim to have accomplished?”
“Judges, I suppose. But that alone is unlikely to save them if Democrats have the wind at their backs.”
Many 2020 Senate Races Look Problematic for the GOP
Cornyn might draw a very competitive challenger, one with 100 percent name recognition in the state. According to Politico, “Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer met with Beto O’Rourke last week to discuss a possible 2020 Senate campaign Cornyn. Changing demographics could help give Beto a victory if he runs for the senate again.
Cory Gardner is looking weak, and Colorado is looking more like a solid blue state every year. LIke Collins, Gardner will also likely lose to a strong Democratic candidate.
This is another purple state that is rapidly becoming blue. Current GOP Senator Martha McSally lost her Senate race in 2018 and was then appointed to the John McCain’s seat. There is nothing to indicate that she will fare better in 2020 than she did last year, especially against a strong candidate. And the bad news for her is that Gabby Giffords’ husband, former astronaut Mark Kelly, just announced that he will run. Chalk this up as another likely Democratic senate victory in 2020.
The Democrat’s new star, Stacey Abrams, may challenge Sen. David Perdue, a dependable Trump sycophant whose only claim to fame is his effort to reduce legal immigration. He is not that popular, and Abrams would have a good shot at winning — assuming she can overcome GOP voter suppression efforts.
GOP senator Thom Tillis will be running in a presidential swing state that is trending blue. If the Democratic presidential candidate does well here the coattails could sweep a Democrat to victory in the senate race also.
This is a state that went for Obama twice, and many Trump voters in the Hawkeye State have turned against Trump for many reasons, including how his tariffs have destroyed the farm economy. (Iowa is the #1 soybean exporting state in the country, and many farmers are now losing money, thanks to Trump.)
GOP senator Joni Ernst was once seen as a rising star but now is seen as very vulnerable. Three out of Iowa’s four U.S. Representatives are now Democrats, so it is extremely possible that a Democrat could take back the senate seat also that for many years was held by liberal Tom Harkin.
Democrats Need to Win Three Senate Seats to Take Control
It should be pointed out that if Democrats pick up a net of just three senate seats, and also win the presidency, they will be in control of the senate since a Democratic vice president would vote to break all ties.
It is still early in 2019, and many things will change between now and the 2020 elections. But those changes may hurt Republicans, especially if Mueller comes out with more indictments and if the House Democrats hold hearings on Trump crimes and corruption that last throughout 2020.
Another factor hurting Republicans is their support for an Obamacare lawsuit that restrictions health insurance for people with pre-existing health conditions.
Even though yesterday’s Senate vote showed that many GOP senators (including McConnell) are now standing up to the president, it may be too little too late.
The Democrats’ chances of winning back control of both houses of Congress, as well as the presidency, are looking better every day.