ICYMI: How Donald Trump is making Senate Republicans’ lives difficult, part 342 [Washington Post]

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

Key Points:

  • “It's safe to say getting a shout-out from Trump has not been on Portman's reelection to-do list.”

  • “This isn't the first time Trump has made Portman's life complicated. Trump was also in Ohio last week, where he described the Trans Pacific Partnership as ‘a death blow to manufacturing.’ Portman […] helped craft free trade deals as the U.S. trade representative for George Bush, a part of his resume Democrats are sure to hammer him on.”

  • It's safe to say he won over no new supporters -- including Portman, whom reporters saw making a back exit from the meeting, less than 24 hours after Trump proclaimed to Ohio voters how much he liked him.

How Donald Trump is making Senate Republicans’ lives difficult, part 342
Washington Post, Amber Phillips

July 7, 2016

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2016/07/07/how-donald-trump-is-making-senate-republicans-lives-difficult-part-342/

To survive what's fast becoming the election cycle from hell, Senate Republicans' game plan has essentially been to hide from their chief problem: Donald Trump.

But Trump has a way of finding them. Take a rally he held in Ohio on Wednesday night, where Trump attacked the state's Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate and praised the Republican one, Sen. Rob Portman. The senator, he said, has "really been good to me and I appreciate it."

It's safe to say getting a shout-out from Trump has not been on Portman's reelection to-do list. Portman has thrown his support behind Trump since he clinched the GOP nomination, but he -- like most other vulnerable Senate Republicans up for reelection -- have been forced to publicly disagree again and again with some of the more controversial things Trump said. Trump is so potentially toxic to the party that most vulnerable Republicans are refusing to even campaign with their party's presumptive nominee, or appear with him in their state. (For what it's worth, Portman hasn't ruled out appearing with Trump. Their schedules haven't matched up yet, he says.)

We've devoted tons of cyberspace on this blog to explaining why Trump is potentially bad news for Senate Republicans, who are trying to hang onto their slim majority in the Senate via races like Ohio. In a nutshell: Trump is setting up to be the least-liked major party nominee in modern times. Among the very voters Portman and other Senate Republicans trying to win reelection in Obama states need to woo -- millennials, women and Latinos -- he is strongly disliked. The broader electoral map already skews Democratic in part because Republicans have failed to make inroads with non-white voters even before Trump came into the picture.

This isn't the first time Trump has made Portman's life complicated. Trump was also in Ohio last week, where he described the Trans Pacific Partnership as "a death blow to manufacturing." Portman has said he doesn't support that trade deal either -- even though he helped craft free trade deals as the U.S. trade representative for George Bush, a part of his resume Democrats are sure to hammer him on.

Trump giving a shout out in Portman's backyard doesn't doom his campaign. Portman has vastly outraised his opponent, former Ohio governor Ted Strickland, and his campaign thinks they have a superior ground game, too.

And Republicans point out that the Democratic presidential nominee isn't a perfect candidate either. More voters dislike her than like her in swing states like Ohio, and she's made her own gaffes that could hurt her there: She said in a March town hall she plans to "put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business," a comment that Republicans are all to happy to remind voters in in southeastern Ohio's coal country.

What's more, a June Quinnipiac poll found Clinton and Trump are tied in Ohio, 40-40.

But just because Clinton may be unlikable to some doesn't make Trump more likable, or make his presence on the trail a boon to Senate Republicans. Trump has proven several times over he's either unwilling or unable to be the kind of candidate congressional Republicans are urging him to be. Take Thursday's disastrous meeting with Senate Republicans. Billed as a chance to assuage their concerns over the nominee, Trump instead picked a fight with one, called another a loser and picked on a third.

It's safe to say he won over no new supporters -- including Portman, whom reporters saw making a back exit from the meeting, less than 24 hours after Trump proclaimed to Ohio voters how much he liked him.

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For Immediate Release: July 7, 2016
Contact: David Bergstein or Liz Margolis, press@TedStrickland.com

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