Charlie Cook and Hillary's Down-Ballot Problem
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?