A.B. Stoddard has up an interesting write up that McConnell’s precious Senate majority is in worse electoral shape than realized because of the orange baboon in the White House. But first, the setting of Stoddard’s piece is the latest fit by the feces thower in chief over immigration and his use of a tariff threat to get Mexico to do something about migrants coming across the southern border. I think — emphasis on that word “think” — that maybe, just maybe, the Senate Republicans did threaten Trump over the proposed Mexican tariffs.
How might this have happened? Stoddard points out this gem:
McConnell can put trade authority bills on the floor and senators can vote to disapprove the president's declaration under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, but Trump’s latest showdown could shut the door on the only deal he has in the pipeline — the USMCA. Despite acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney’s declaration that tariffs on Mexico in an immigration fight and prospects for passing a new NAFTA through Congress “are absolutely not linked,” that's not what the Mexican government thinks. Republican leaders had estimated the only window for USMCA passage would have been by the August recess.
The emboldened is my doing.
The USMCA may not survive the Democratic House, but we all know how good McConnell is at burying any bill he does not like. McConnell is now touting his “grave digger” status when it comes to Democratic bills. And McConnell doesn’t even like bipartisan bills. All he had to do is mention that USMCA may not get scheduled in time to get the orange baboons attention. And we all know how Trump wants his “victories.”
Furthermore, Stoddard points out the things are not all peaches and cream for Republican Senators up in 2020. There standing is dependent upon how Trump is faring, and the latest news is not good on that front:
Trump’s approval rating is in dangerous territory in key states Republicans are defending, including Iowa (-12) North Carolina (-4) Colorado (-14) and Arizona (-6), and recent polls have former Vice President Joe Biden beating him in Texas and by double digits in North Carolina where Sen. Thom Tillis is also vulnerable
In other words, Trump may drag down several Senate Republicans in 2020. And no matter what, McConnell does NOT want to be a minority leader.
As RCP polling analyst Sean Trende wrote this week, “[T]he GOP majority is in more danger than most analysts believe.” He cited a reliable simulation created in 2014 that factors in the president's approval rating, whether any given Senate race features an incumbent and whether there is a “highly problematic” candidate in the race. (Roy Moore is still threatening to run again in Alabama!) Using this simulation, Trende estimates Trump’s current approval rating in the low 40s is “basically the breaking point for the GOP holding the Senate,” as their projected loss would be two seats, while a net loss of three would mean losing the majority. If the president's approval dips to 40% or below, the loss of seats could reach four or more.
We will just have to wait and see if this marriage heads for a divorce court. My gut says it will not happen until the very bitter end of 2020 because McConnell didn’t just marry Trump. He made a deal with the Devil. And the ghost of Daniel Webster will not save McConnell from giving the Devil his due.