It sure took them long enough. For months, it has been clear that the Senate majority is slipping from Republicans’ control, but they appeared to be in denial that an unpopular president who failed to address a pandemic and presided over an economy akin to the Great Depression might ruin their reelection chances. Who knew?
But now, Republicans are becoming alarmed at their chances in November. The Post reports: “Democrats have benefited from two key developments, said Jessica Taylor, Senate editor for the nonpartisan Cook Political Report: the emergence of Biden, not Bernie Sanders, as the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee and emerging evidence that the public does not believe Trump is managing the pandemic effectively.” They might discover a third: Republicans blindly follow President Trump even when he makes no political or policy sense.
Republicans continue to repeat the error that contributed more to their 2018 losses than any other. “Democrats also plan to attack GOP senators for their opposition to the increasingly popular Affordable Care Act, with 2020 marking the first Senate elections where Democrats can target a large swath of Republicans for votes early in the Trump presidency to repeal the health law.” Hey, why not stop cheering for its repeal in the middle of the pandemic? That would be smart policy at a time people are losing employment (and health coverage) and face a national health emergency. Really, this is not rocket science.
Hmm. He and his fellow Republicans might try dropping their opposition to additional funding for state and local governments, without which thousands of firefighters, police officers, EMTs, teachers, public hospital workers and other state and local employees will face layoffs. Breaking with Trump to keep all those people working would be very popular, evidence that they can “react to the crisis.”
Likewise, voting by mail is overwhelmingly popular. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is pummeling Republicans on the issue (as well as Trump’s threat to defund the Post Office). Appearing on Sunday with Greta Van Susteren of Gray TV’s “Full Court Press,” Pelosi explained: “So, to those who make that charge about [state and local funding], ‘Oh, they had problems before,’ it has nothing to do with that. This is strictly, what are your outlays for the coronavirus? What is your revenue loss for the coronavirus? That’s why it has the support of Democratic and Republican governors across the country. It is strictly about this, and it’s about nothing else.”
On voting, Pelosi added, “And we will in our bill, also, have funding for vote by mail, which we think is essential and supported by Republicans across the country. They like voting by mail. They have more of a habit of voting by mail.
” She reminded the audience that Wisconsin Republicans opposed extending the time to mail in ballots that were late to arrive due to heavy demand. “In the state of Wisconsin, they had a number of COVID cases that were immediately traced to people having to stand in line for a long time to vote,” Pelosi recounted. “So, this is not only the health of our democracy, it’s the health of our people.”
Republicans have been frittering away their reelection chances ever since Trump tied them to his unpopular policies. They still won’t break with some of his worst ideas. Now, facing an election wipeout, they fret that he is pulling them under. Well, what did they expect?