If there’s one advantage to running on a party ticket, especially if you’re a fledgling candidate, it’s that the party has resources. I’ve written in the past that parties offer support for candidates, especially newbie congressional candidates in the form of things like a monetary hand when campaign donations run low, expert guidance in setting up and running a campaign office and campaign, and temporary staffing. All of this can keep a candidate competitive, and give them a fighting chance.
But if there is one advantage that a national party can give a candidate that rises above all others, it is polling data. Polling is expensive to do, and a campaign that isn’t awash in special interest donations can have trouble in keeping up with how their message is resonating with voters, and what issues they need to key in on, and refine their message.
Well, national parties do a shitload of polling, especially in presidential election years. And considering that the presidential candidate is running nationally, they run national polling, broken down into districts, showing where a candidate is strong, and where he needs to spend more time. And it is intricate polling, with plenty of cross tabs, dealing with things like specific issues, and candidate popularity.
All of this data is like manna from heaven for a congressional candidate. It offers them specific, quality polling data on a range of issues, and it doesn’t cost them a dime, the party is happy to make it available to them to assist them in their quest for political “fortune and glory.” Congressional campaigns most likely use the party’s internal polling data for their district more than any other party resource.
But maybe not so much this year, at least not on the GOP side. Because Propublica is reporting that this time around, RNC Chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel, bidding fair to replace Reince Priebus as the most pathetic excuse for a party chair in the history of politics, is throwing a monkey wrench into the works, and in so doing, is literally endangering the chances for GOP congressional districts in key races.
While the RNC is still making the party’s internal polling data available to congressional campaigns across the country, the RNC is withholding one critical cross tab of polling information from congressional campaigns. And that critical cross tab is President Donald Trump’s personal and job approval ratings in the district.
I have written a couple of different articles over the last few days, dealing with Romney McDaniel’s, the RNC’s, and local state party organs doing everything in their power to spare the delicate snowflake fee-fee’s of Trump from negative information, such as a state primary in which he fails to garner at least 95% of the vote, Putin style, by simply eliminating presidential primaries in their states this year. This damages not only the party, by making it look weak and feckless, but also Trump himself, by giving him a delusional impression of his actual popularity.
But this is ten times worse, especially for the party as a whole. Donald Trump is one man, and if he goes down, then he goes down. In the midterms of 2006, and the presidential election of 2008, incumbent President George W Bush largely sat out the elections, rarely campaigning with individual candidates, unwilling to tar their electoral chances with his personal unpopularity. Trump has no such sense of self awareness, nor devotion to anybody but himself. These candidates are gong to wrap themselves in his cloak, whether they want to or not, and regardless of what it does to their chances. Romney McDaniel is making sure of that by depriving them of the information they need to decide how far they need to distance themselves from Trump to survive.
The GOP took a bloodletting in the House in 2018. And already today, almost 14 months before election day, the GOP is already in double digits of incumbents retiring rather than have to run alongside of Trump. And they are unlikely to attract A-List talent to replace them, since nobody with a political future wants to have to run on a ballot where Trump’s name appears. Their sole chance for survival is going to be tailoring their approach as to how closely to align themselves with Trump, and the RNC is depriving them of the intel they need to make an intelligent decision.
The Cook Political Report found 36 GOP held districts nationwide that Trump won in 2016 by less than the 12 points he carried NC-9, in which the GOP candidate squeaked out a 2 point victory Tuesday night. All of those districts are now in play for 2020.If the Democrats can rally around their presidential candidate, and recreate the enthusiasm of 2018, they could be well on the way to establishing a “permanent House majority” again. And Ronna Romney McDaniel is going to ensure that her candidates are flying blind. Let the games begin.
To know the future, look to the past. before the insanity of the 2020 election, relive the insanity of the 2016 GOP primary campaign, and the general election, to see how we got to where we are. Copies of President Evil, and the sequel, President Evil II, A Clodwork Orange are available as e-books on Amazon, at the links above. Catch up before the upcoming release of the third book in the trilogy, President Evil III: All The Presidents Fen