McConnell To Vulnerable GOP Senators: Maybe Abandon Ship?

Donald Trump and an adoring Sen. Cory Gardner (R).

CNN reports on what could be rightly considered an inevitable development as we close in on three months before the fateful 2020 presidential election–GOP Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has given the signal that vulnerable Republican Senators up for re-election in November alongside an imploding President Donald Trump can, if they determine it is politically expedient to do so, make for the lifeboats:

In recent weeks, the Senate majority leader has become so concerned over Republicans losing control of the Senate that he has signaled to vulnerable GOP senators in tough races that they could distance themselves from the President if they feel it is necessary, according to multiple senior Republicans including a source close to McConnell.

That could mean breaking with Trump on the administration’s response to the coronavirus pandemic and the continued efforts by the President to paint an optimistic picture despite rising cases and deaths across parts of the country, especially in many Republican states in the South and Midwest.

The process of staking out daylight between the campaigns of vulnerable Republicans and Donald Trump is well underway in some races around the country, best evidenced by Sen. Susan Collins’ ever-so-slowly escalating criticism of the President in recent months. In Colorado, however, Sen. Cory Gardner has made no effort to undo the basically locked-in perception at this point of Gardner as one of Trump’s closest allies. This week’s reassurance by Gardner that despite what Trump suggested, there would be no delaying the election over Trump’s fictitious concerns about mail ballots, notably did not include a defense of Colorado’s mail ballot system–which Gardner has defended in the past, but not directly in response to Trump as he had the opportunity to do on Thursday.

The problem for Gardner’s is that his image as a principal ally of Trump–Trump told cheering crowds in Colorado Springs last February how Gardner showed “no waver” in his commitment–is so firmly embedded in the public consciousness that to pivot only 90 days from the election, after so many opportunities moral obligations to do so, would be broadly identified for the shameless act that it is. Not to mention, CNN continues:

While this may give some senators the flexibility to draw a distinction between themselves and the President, it also forces them to walk a tightrope. Trump remains enormously popular with the Republican base, and any attempts to undercut him risks alienating those voters. [Pols emphasis]

“These vulnerable senators can’t afford to explicitly repudiate Trump,” said one senior Republican on Capitol Hill. “They just need to show they are independent on issues important in their states.”

Even if Mitch McConnell gives Gardner a hall pass to start disagreeing with Trump on various minor points of controversy, this carries with it the grave risk of alienating the Republican base. In Colorado, that base overwhelmingly remains loyal to Trump, is already not real keen on Gardner, and on guard for exactly the kind of “disloyalty” McConnell is opening the door to. There’s no realistic hope for Gardner to split the ticket with anti-Trump voters, so to lose Republicans would leave Gardner without any core base of support at all.

If Gardner could ever have “jumped ship” and saved himself from going down with Trump, the moment was six months ago–at least. If Gardner tries it now, three months from the election and only after the all-clear has been given from Republican leadership to do it, Gardner action is neither loyal nor courageous.

It is what Sun Tzu called “the noise before defeat.”

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  1. RepealAndReplace says:

    "The cantons should take steps to defend themselves."

    That's what the Emperor Honorius reportedly said in 410 AD to Britain as Roman troops were recalled to try to defend Rome proper as a last stand.

    McConnell is now giving the same order to his endangered members.

  2. JohnInDenver says:

    What would Gardner have to demonstrate opposition on?  There are a few judicial nominees coming up for confirmation, but they are all District Court judges, many already accepted by their home state Senators.  There are a few other nominations, but who is going to care about them when their term in office will be less than 6 months? 

    Legislation?  There simply won't be much to vote on.  And if Cory votes against Trump on economic recovery funds or covid relief efforts, he'll anger the base AND those who want some form of action.  So how could he demonstrate "separation" from Trump at this point?

    • Voyageur says:

      Here's an idea: vote against barking mad Judy Shelton's confirmation on the federal reserve board.  Mitt Romney and that old tease Susan Collins have come out against.  

      Corey could doom this Trumpster's nomination.

      Will he?

      Cory?

      Holding his breath Yoda is not.

      • RepealAndReplace says:

        I recall that towards the very end in the fall of 2018, Shorter Coffman, in a craven act of desperation, said that he was open to possibly voting to impeach Trump.

        It didn’t save Coffman but it did show how far at least one Republican was prepared to go to try to get re-elected.

        Perhaps Gardner could offer to co-sponsor Medicare-For-All with Bernie. Then apologize for his votes for Kavanaugh and against convicting Trump in the impeachment trial.

        Desperate times call for desperate measures.

        • Conserv. Head Banger says:

          Gardner continues to get support from the supposed centrist group, Unite Colorado, with their continuing ads calling out Hickenlooper’s “corruption.”

          Of course, Unite isn’t noticing the potential corruption on the IEC itself in regard to its “investigation” of Hickenlooper.

        • Duke Cox says:

          Perhaps Gardner could offer to co-sponsor Medicare-For-All with Bernie. Then apologize for his votes for Kavanaugh and against convicting Trump in the impeachment trial.

           

          That's an active imagination you got there, But, yeah…that would probably piss off someone.

    • gertie97 says:

      Could the bar for a good week get any lower?

    • JohnInDenver says:

      The "good week" defined by one poll (never trust one poll) and one "quickly condemn" one (of many) outrageous Trump statements.

      Wasn't Ciruli at one point considered fairly balanced and his commentary tied to data?  This seems like a wholesale projection of Republican spin.

       

  3. Duke Cox says:

    BTW, Gertie. I was wondering if you had seen that new dictionary made for masochists?

    Yeah, all the words are in there, but they aren't in alphabetical order. 😊

  4. JohnInDenver says:

    Just stumbled across a column from Jon Caldara insisting Cory Gardner is making this a race. He insists:

    Gardner’s political life just won’t die.

    Political circles were jolted by a new poll by Morning Consult showing Cory has catapulted to within 6 points of John…..

    There is no question that Gardner is the underdog in this race and given the state’s anti-Trump sentiment there’s little wonder. But hating Trump doesn’t mean swing voters want to hand the senate to a President Joe Biden.

    • Conserv. Head Banger says:

      Hickenlooper should run as if HE is the underdog, which he is. Hick is running against the NRSC, the Gardner campaign, and Unite Colorado’s “anti-corruption” initiative.

      Will send Hick another $100 check later today.

      • spaceman65 says:

        Agreed.  It kinda feels like he's just "aloofing" his way to November.  He's got the edge for sure, but it's not in the bag, and he should campaign like he's losing.  Unless he really doesn't want the job.  I'll vote for him, but it's not an enthusiastic pro-Hick vote

        • Duke Cox says:

            Unless he really doesn't want the job. 

          Whatever would make you think that?

        • Conserv. Head Banger says:

          "it's not an enthusiastic pro-Hick vote……" If I may gently and humbly suggest, better get some enthusiasm unless one wants another 6 years of Cory Gardner.

          • Duke Cox says:

            …and may I humbly and gently respond…

            My enthusiasm is not a deal breaker here. Hick has millions of dollars from…well, we know…and you guys said that is all he needs to thump Cory.

            Go ahead, demonstrate your adulation as you will. I will hold my nose and vote for him.

            That's all you get.

            • Voyageur says:

              That’s all we need, Duke.  And all I’ve got for Biden is a shrug.

              Yeah, I loved Hillary but sometimes you have to settle for sending Satan’s spawn back to hell.  But I am sending some cash to Mitsch Bush, because Lauren Boebert is as stupid as Ken Buck!

              You might want to talk her up to your friends. Western Colorado deserves better than a Trumper with a gun.

               

              • Duke Cox says:

                So far I have performed at 3 events (that I can remember) where DMB has appeared. She is bright, committed, and sincere. She will make a great congress member. I don't do much public appearing any more, but I will talk her up at any opportunity.

                I am thoroughly offended by "Q"berts' commercial where she throws her mother under the bus. Disgraceful.

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