Midterms All About Trump For Republicans

Congressional Republicans seem to have coalesced around a strategy for the midterm elections, and it’s the exact one Democrats have been warned to avoid: making it all about President Trump.

Yesterday, at a lunch on Capitol Hill with Senate Republicans, Trump doubled down on his vow to be a mainstay on the campaign trail leading up to November. And Republicans, desperate to hold onto or build upon their 51-49 Senate majority, and also to stave off an effort by Democrats to take back the House, seem to be fully on board with letting the president be the face of those efforts.

The strategy comes despite Trump’s less-than-stellar track record on the campaign stump so far. In a pair of stinging special election losses, Trump-backed Alabama U.S. Senate hopeful Roy Moore and Pennsylvania congressional candidate Rick Saccone were defeated — both deep in Trump country.

Instead, they focused on Trump’s incrementally rising poll numbers and the issues he represents in hopes that they will stir enough base voters to help protect the party’s control of Congress

“This is very different from a presidential election,” said GOP strategist Ford O’Connell. “It’s wise to make it about the Trump agenda. If they are going to hold the House, the economic message will be the key.”

Republicans in the meeting also focused on the economy.

But a focus on the president also places a spotlight on all the potentially controversial and divisive rhetoric he’s known for during his off-script, freewheeling addresses.

O’Connell said Trump could turn to surrogates like Vice President Mike Pence in some districts, like suburbs where Trump’s support among women has taken a dip since 2016.

“There is not a one-size-fits-all plan,” O’Connell said. “But the idea of trying to win in the midterms while walking away from Trump is foolhardy.”

Read more from Kimberley Atkins at the Boston Herald

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Analysis & Political Strategy