Polling suggests that President Donald Trump is a uniquely vulnerable incumbent. For instance, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders beats Trump in a head-to-head match-up in nearly all surveys. Of the 35 polls tracked by RealClearPolitics, Sanders beats the president in 34.
Former Vice President Joe Biden would beat Trump as well, according to some polls, as would Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren. For instance, a Fox News poll released earlier this month shows Warren beating Trump in a hypothetical head-to-head match up with 46 percent of the vote as opposed to the president’s 39 percent.
Senate Republicans are aware of this reality, worried that Trump will lose in 2020, and focused on preserving a majority in the United States Senate, according to a new report from The Hill.
The GOP, which presently controls 53 seats in the Senate, has all but given up on the House of Representatives — which the Democrats control — and remains focused on protecting the Senate “firewall,” as fears that Trump will lose re-election grow.
A former Republican Senate chief of staff explained that the party has to focus on preserving a majority in the Senate because it would be the last line of defense against a Democrat in the White House, and a Democratic majority in the House of Representatives.
“If we lose the presidency — and if I had to guess right now, the odds are 10 percent we get the House back — the Senate is the only check and balance,” the former chief of staff said.
“If we don’t keep the Senate, we’re basically screwed. I hate to just cut to the chase, but that is exactly what the [National Republican Senatorial Committee] is running with,” they added.
— Rolling Stone (@RollingStone) August 20, 2019
As The Hill notes, Republicans have touted their control of the Senate as the only way to obstruct the Democratic Party and prevent it from enacting policies they slam as “socialist,” such as universal healthcare coverage and the jobs and climate change-focused Green New Deal.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has infamously described himself as the “grim reaper” of progressive legislation, vowing to obstruct any and all progressive initiatives.
The “socialism” narrative, according to a Republican strategist, is a key part of the GOP’s strategy, with which they hope to win over so-called moderate Republicans.
“The socialism charge in particular works well with some of the soft Republican voters, suburban voters that Republicans have struggled with in the Trump era… so I think you’ll see a lot of Republican candidates talk about the Senate being the last firewall,” the strategist said.
Echoing the sentiment expressed by Republicans on Capitol Hill, the strategist added that the GOP will stay focused on defending the Senate because it is a “safer bat” than the House or the presidential race.