The Phil Anschutz-owned conservative news site Washington Examiner attempts to soothe the frayed nerves of Republican insiders ahead of what’s expected to be a punishing midterm election–and no surprise, Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado is at the tip of the furiously spinning spear:
Republican senators say they’re not worried that President Trump’s much-criticized performance at his summit meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin will hurt Republicans in the midterm elections in November, and are predicting that the event will be forgotten by then…
Issues like Russia and North Korea have become major news stories over the last few months, but neither have turned into a major campaign subject. Republicans and Democrats are mostly talking about the economy, and Republicans believe they can keep the conversation there or on other topics that benefit them.
“I think what matters is how somebody’s going to vote on the Supreme Court justice. I think what’s going to matter is how they’re going to embrace economic policies that cut taxes,” said Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee. “They’re going to ask questions about whether they support ideas Democrats have to abolish ICE.”
“When you’re voting in November, you’re going to be voting on those issues,” Gardner added.
The polls show a different picture. The only segment of the American electorate who supports Trump’s handling of foreign relations is the same Republican base that elected him in 2016 with a minority of the popular vote. There’s a built-in 20-30% floor of support for anything Trump says or does, no matter how destructive or contradictory to his own previous positions–and that group is overwhelmingly concentrated within the Republican base. This midterm election is about which side’s base is more motivated to turn out, and recent polls show overwhelmingly that Democrats are more enthusiastic and motivated to vote than Republicans.
What does this mean? It means Cory Gardner is talking to/about the wrong voters. One can forgive wishful thinking to a degree, especially on camera ahead of the election–but for the sake of every Republican who wants to win in November, we sincerely hope that Gardner is more honest in private about the challenge Republicans face in November.
Otherwise it’s looking to be a very tough night.