Because They Have To Win The General Election, That’s Why

The Denver Post’s John Frank documents an interesting if not-unexpected phenomenon in Colorado politics this year: the reluctance of Republican gubernatorial candidates to publicly embrace President Donald Trump during the period of the campaign it would be most valuable to do so, the Republican primary, where they are courting the segment of voters most loyal to Trump:

Trump is a defining figure in the 2018 election in Colorado, particularly in Republican primary contests, where a poll shows support for the president among the party’s likely voters holds at 80 percent.

But many of the state’s Republican candidates remain reluctant to embrace Trump. The two most prominent contenders for governor — state Treasurer Walker Stapleton and Attorney General Cynthia Coffman — won’t say whether they will accept the president’s endorsement or campaign with him. And most others offer conditional support…

Stapleton, a two-term treasurer and relative of George W. Bush, touts his early endorsement of Trump’s tax law on the campaign trail, saying in an interview that he hoped the alignment would help him win support ahead of the June primary.

But when asked about his opinion of Trump’s record in office, he didn’t answer directly. [Pols emphasis]

In the 2012 presidential election, a top adviser to Republican nominee Mitt Romney told the press that transitioning from the primary to the general election was like ‘shaking the Etch-a-Sketch’–meaning that a candidate could essentially disregard the positions they took to win the primary election in order to appeal to general election voters. But as Romney learned in November, voter memories are not simply erased when the primary ends–and what candidate tells base voters in order to gain their support in the primary most certainly does matter once the primary election is over.

Having learned that lesson, Republicans who would in most other circumstances be competing to align themselves with a President favored by 80% of Republican voters are instead finding ways to change the subject when it comes up. Understanding that the electorate in 2018 is likely to punish anyone they connect to the Trump administration, with the exception of Steve Barlock (who won the Adams County caucus straw poll) our local Republicans are making a gamble that their long-term viability is more important.

And it might work–as long as voters somehow don’t put together that what Trump and Republicans have in common is that they are all Republicans! Which seems unlikely. And once voters on both sides figure out what’s going on here, these attempts to put daylight between Republican candidates and the leader of the Republican party look awfully craven.

It’s one of those situations where, even though we don’t have a better idea on how they should proceed, the risk of a disaster worse than the consequences of saying nothing at all is very high. Any way you look at it, Trump is an albatross around the neck of Republican candidates in 2018. The question will only be one of degree.

13 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. unnamed says:

    If the special and 2017 general elections are any indication, the degree may be very high.

  2. Moderatus says:

    Bill Clinton. Michael Hancock. You're hypocrites and everyone knows it.

    • unnamed says:

      Yet you go after Clinton and try to impeach.  Yet Trump the thug and vulgarian is your savior. That's not hypocritical at all.

      Got the proof that Obama illegally obtained private data on voters to win elections?  Show your cards ISP boy.

    • JohnInDenver says:

      Moderatus —

      Last time I checked, there were not media reports of Bill Clinton's attorney paying $130,000 and in an inept attempt to silence testimony — even requiring private arbitration about any dispute about the terms of the contract or alleged violations.

      But, fair is fair. I'll agree that Bill Clinton's sexual escapades were outrageous. Now, it's your turn. What's your opinion of Trump's sexual escapades?

      Or, if you prefer a different topic. Want to compare Clinton and Trump "charity foundations" ?? Trump and many of his backers say government shouldn't be doing things, that private charities should take the lead. So, how many years of Trump Foundation activity would it take to equal a SINGLE year of Clinton Foundation work?  Here's one standard: "In 2013, 88.3 percent of spending was designated as going toward program services — $196.6 million out of $222.6 million in reported expenses. " How many years of Trump Foundation donations and effort will it take to get to nearly $200 million?

      • Davie says:

        How many years of Trump Foundation donations and effort will it take to get to nearly $200 million?

        Umm, never?

        President Trump's charity foundation funneled $100,000 in donations meant for St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital into revenue for the Trump Organization by using his son's charity, Forbes reported Tuesday.

        For 10 years Eric Trump hosted an annual golf tournament that raised millions of dollars in donations for the hospital. According to the Forbes report, $100,000 of the donations was funneled through the Eric Trump Foundation back into Trump's golf courses for expenses incurred during the tournaments, despite donors being told that all their money would be used for charity.

        In December, President Trump announced plans to dissolve his charitable foundation in order to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest. But New York's attorney general said that was impossible until a criminal probe of the charity was completed.

  3. ParkHill says:

    Markos makes the opposite point from the same datapoint: Trump has 88% approval from Republicans, which means he is the ONLY thing they have to run on. Ryan is down, McConnell is down, the Republican Party is down. 

    In other words, at least nationally, Republican electoral marketing is trying to gain enthusiasm by rallying around Trump. "Vote for Republicans or else the Democrats will impeach Trump."

    • Davie says:

      Yep, the GOP go-to tactic is to gin up irrational fears in their base.  They overlook the fact that a GOP-style kangaroo impeachment won't happen for two very compelling reasons:

      1.  Not enough votes in the Senate to convict

      2.  President Mike Pence

      Of course, if (when?) the Mueller investigation brings additional charges against Trump's family and closest advisors, plus evidence of his own criminal acts, all bets are off.  Even Republicans at that point might be willing to see justice prevail.

  4. Diogenesdemar says:

    I see Fluffy’s favorite Trumpetter also sent out a press release today(?) endorsing the cituzenship question for the 2020 census . . . 

    . . . so many ways to discourage accurate information, so little time . . .

    Goooooooo Awaaayyyyy Trumpenablers!

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