Charlie Cook and Hillary's Down-Ballot Problem

Totally not crazy, thank you very. much. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

If you’re a Donald Trump supporter and you were hoping for some good news from a consummate political pro with an excellent record, then I have bad news for you instead. In today’s National Journal, Charlie Cook comes to the exact same conclusion I did yesterday about the current state of the race:


Im­port­antly, be­cause a so-called “Rust Belt” strategy is pretty much Trump’s only con­ceiv­able path to 270 elect­or­al votes, the real es­tate mogul is now 6.6 points be­hind in Michigan and 8 points be­hind in Pennsylvania. Ob­vi­ously there will be a ton of swing-state polls com­ing out over the next six weeks giv­ing more clar­ity to these numbers. Keep in mind that his­tory shows swing states gen­er­ally ebb and flow in a man­ner syn­chron­ized with the na­tion­al num­bers. Also re­mem­ber that if Clin­ton could win an Arizona or a Geor­gia, it means she doesn’t need all the tra­di­tion­al swing states be­cause she is likely win­ning pretty much every place she has to win to get to 270.

But if you’re a conservative first and a Trump supporter second (or not at all), then the news isn’t all bad. Here’s what Cook sees down-ballot:

Two factors make me sus­pect that even if Clin­ton wins by a much lar­ger margin than, say, Obama’s win over Rom­ney four years ago, I don’t think the down-bal­lot im­plic­a­tions would be that huge. In the House, there are few­er com­pet­it­ive dis­tricts than at any point in our life­times; between nat­ur­al pop­u­la­tion sort­ing and ger­ry­man­der­ing, there just isn’t much elasti­city in the House these days. In the Sen­ate, the GOP ma­jor­ity is ab­so­lutely on the line; my guess it will end up 50-50, give or take a seat or two, but giv­en voters’ doubts about Clin­ton, the “don’t give Hil­lary Clin­ton a blank check” ar­gu­ment may well be a polit­ic­ally po­tent one, and a lot of hold-their-noses Hil­lary voters may well look for a check and bal­ance down-bal­lot.


That’s a chilling thought, “50-50, give or take a seat or two.” Say what you will about Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, but he’s Barry Goldwater next to Majority-Leader-in-Waiting Chuck Schumer.

This is what #NeverTrump is about. Not to give Republicans “cover they need to vote for Hillary,” as some have slandered, but to create political distance between a presidential candidate they see as having zero chance of winning, and Senate races which might hang in the balance.

I intend to vote for Trump — unless Colorado keeps trending towards a Clinton blowout, in which case I’ll vote for Gary Johnson. But it isn’t support for Trump or disgust for Clinton which motivates me to do my civic duty on election day. Rather, it’s that “50-50, give or take a seat or two.”

Remember the legislative damage done by Democrat supermajorities in just two years following Barack Obama’s election?

2009-2011 gave us the failed, trillion-dollar stimulus, the slow-motion trainwreck called ObamaCare, Dodd-Frank’s shotgun marriage between Wall Street and Washington, the virtual militarization of the EPA, and so many others.

Perhaps the GOP House and Senate have disappointed you, but they’ve kept the lid on discretionary spending, and haven’t succumbed to the progressive temptation to DO SOMETHING COMPREHENSIVE ABOUT EVERYTHING, like Obama’s short-lived Democratic supermajority did.


We’ve been in damage control mode for six years now, and it looks like we’ll have to stay there for at least four more. So vote for Trump, vote for Clinton, for Johnson, for McMullen, write in Mickey Mouse, or even leave the top of your ballot blank — there are arguments for any of those choices. But do show up on election day, and do help make sure Clinton doesn’t enjoy another two years of Democratic legislative roughshod.


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