Senator Ted Cruz is warning Republicans that the election climate is “volatile,” but Donald Trump could still win the election by a large margin if voters are optimistic about the economy.
But the senator also warned his party that if voters are angry and have given up hope, the GOP could suffer a defeat as bad as the 1974 Watergate election.
“I am worried. It’s volatile, it’s highly volatile … if people are going back to work, if they’re optimistic, if they’re positive about the future, we could see a fantastic election — the president getting reelected with a big margin, Republicans winning both Houses of Congress and I think that’s a real possibility,” Cruz said.
“But I also think if on Election Day people are angry and they’ve given up hope and they’re depressed, which is what [Speaker Nancy] Pelosi and [Senate Minority Leader Charles] Schumer want them to be, I think it could be a terrible election. I think we could lose the White House and both houses of Congress, that it could be a bloodbath of Watergate proportions.”
The outcome in November is likely to fall somewhere in between those two extremes. The 1974 election gave Democrats a net gain of 4 in the Senate and a whopping 49 new Democratic congressmen in the House. Along with retirements, there were 76 new Democrats in the House — many of them McGovernites — who proceeded to revolutionize the country.
Cruz is looking at the same state polls as the rest of us and is worried. The trends do not bode well for Republicans. And if a lot of close elections go the Democrats’ way — as happened in 2018 — it could be very bad.
One difference between 1974 and 2020 is that there are likely to be tens of millions of mail-in ballots — most of which won’t be counted for days or weeks after November 3. The legal war that is going to break out will not be pretty and could very well lead to confrontations in the streets.
All Trump can do is keep his head down and keep moving.
Meanwhile, it would help if he got a boost along the way to re-establish momentum. Many Republicans in the Senate believe another stimulus bill would provide that boost.
Cruz said he’d spoken with Trump on Thursday and that the president wants to make a deal. That day, White House communications director Alyssa Farah told reporters the administration wanted to address a variety of stimulus strategies but not as “part of a larger package.” Farah later told reporters “we’re open to going with something bigger,” but “we’re not going to operate from the $2.2 trillion that the speaker laid out.”
A spokesperson for Schumer, D-N.Y., declined to comment. A representative for Pelosi, D-Calif., did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment.
The Wall Street Journal reports that the White House is now preparing a $1.8 trillion plan that includes many elements both parties support, including individual $1200 checks to taxpayers, extended unemployment benefits, and an airline bailout.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is expected to discuss the new proposal with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) when the two speak Friday, the latest in a series of start-and-stop negotiations.
The White House proposal increases their previous offer by about $200 billion, but a significant distance remains between the administration and Democratic leaders on the bill’s overall price tag. Democrats last week passed a $2.2 trillion aid package, a scaled-back version of their earlier $3.5 trillion legislation. Mr. Mnuchin had previously proposed a $1.6 trillion offer.
The two sides have also disagreed on the contents of the bill, notably the amount of aid for state and local governments.
Cruz may be trying to get the attention of reluctant GOP senators who aren’t enthused about spending another couple of trillion dollars to climb out of the stimulus hole the economy is in. But Cruz and others see a stimulus bill as vital to the party’s chances in November.
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