The Republican Party has considerable reason to be concerned with the potential for President Trump losing his re-election bid.
Working against him is his seeming denial of the impact of COVID-19 on the American populace.
It almost appears that he is still convinced that his Feb. 27 statement that it is a “Democratic hoax” is true, and that he can banish it by royal “fiat.”
His inability to properly address the pandemic has created a major economic crisis which cannot be blathered away by administration officials reading “recovery” in every hint of good news.
Recent polling suggests the American public more and more view the administration as inept in its handling of the pandemic and increasingly question his ability to direct a potential recovery.
Early on, his Nixonsque “law and order” campaign was derailed by the very negative reaction to his showmanship tendency when he photo-oped handling a Bible with the same clumsiness I would show handling the crown jewels of England.
Trump’s standard response of first trying to deem every setback a victory, then admitting defeat by blaming everyone from Democrats to fellow Republicans to members of his own administration, past and present, is not playing well.
In addition, Trump’s old enemy, John Bolton, has shone a glaring light on the inner workings of the administration in his new book.
Trump definitely cannot blame this on his collusion with the Democrats, since almost all Democratic media reaction to Bolton’s book is tepid at best.
With Trump down by almost double digits in the aggregated polls of Real Politics and 538, chances for re-election seem bleak.
He trails in seven states he carried in 2016, with a total of 119 electoral votes. He is not leading in any state carried by Hillary Clinton.
While it is certainly a long way from election day, and momentum can swing drastically, I firmly believe the presidential contest will have a major impact on this year’s U.S. Senate races.
This will create a clear opportunity for the Democrats to pick up as many as five Republican seats, while likely losing one.
This would place the Democrats in the majority in the Senate, and most importantly for Democrats, exile Mitch McConnell with his dictatorial control over Senate legislation to the Minority Leader’s Office.
I consider his seat safe despite Kentucky Democratic efforts.
Let’s examine these contests.
Arizonians will choose between current Senate appointee (2019), Martha McSally, a 26-year veteran of the Air Force and two-term Congresswoman, and Mark Kelley, a former Navy pilot and NASA astronaut.
He is also the husband of former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, who received serious head trauma when shot in an assassination attempt.
Currently, Kelley maintains the double-digit lead he has held since mid-March.
McSally is considered a Trump stalwart in a state the Republican presidential candidate has won every election since 1948, except once (1996).
However, recent polls show Kelly doubling McSally’s support from independent voters.
It appears the changing demographics, growing urbanization and Kelly’s personal popularity explain Kelly’s probable victory. Paint this one light blue as a potential Democratic win, picking off a current Republican seat.
In Maine, Sen. Susan Collins has walked a tightrope for years, being moderate enough to appease some Democratic voters while consolidating her Republican base.
Democrats have been quick to point out that Collins supports Trump two-thirds of the time, making her vunerable in an otherwise Democratic albeit independent-minded state.
Sara Gideon is a five-time elected member of the Maine House of Representatives, and currently Speaker of the House. In all five elections, she has won handily over Republican opposition by margins of percentages in the mid-60s to mid-90s.
Currently, polls show Gideon leading Collins by 3.5% in a contest which may be heavily influenced by the presidential race.
Collins is not a favorite of McConnell or Trump, but both have to put aside their dislike of Collin’s moderation in order to attempt to maintain the seat for the Republicans.
Collins became particularly vulnerable after her vote to approve Trump’s nomination of Brett Kavanaugh. Paint this one also light blue and another potential pickup of a seat by the Democrats held by Republicans.
Part II will address Alabama, Colorado, Montana and Iowa.
CARL HOLDER is retired as the city manager for Paris. He lives at 1404 Patriot Drive in Paris and his email address is email@example.com.