Democrats optimistic about taking back U.S. Senate
Senate Democrat leaders are growing more and more optimistic about their chances to retake the majority in the chamber as national polls show President Donald Trump losing ground in key battleground states and Republicans strategists urging Trump to change his tone on the campaign trail.
“I think the idea that this [p]resident was going to be a catastrophic disaster in an emergency was theoretical until this year. His performance over the last three months is very jarring to a lot of Americans,” said Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy (D). “I think folks now feel like not only does Trump have to go, but his enablers have to go, too.”
Murphy sees a referendum coming on Trump’s failure to contain the coronavirus and it’s resulting economic collapse. He says his party has shifted its focus from key battleground states such as Alabama, Michigan and New Hampshire to an electoral map that now includes Colorado, Arizona, Iowa, Maine and Montana.
Democrats only need to pick up three or four seats to comfortably take back the majority. While they are more optimistic than they were last year, they are still acknowledging some challenges they face. Alabama Sen. Doug Jones (D) faces an uphill battle to maintain his seat in the conservative-leaning state.
“Obviously you cannot take anything for granted, but it looks like we are defending relatively few vulnerable incumbents,” said Delaware Sen. Chris Coons. “We have strong candidates. They are running against fairly strong incumbents, but we are in a moment where it is hard for candidates to separate themselves from the flailing and chaotic response from the [p]resident.”
Majority Whip John Thune (R) warned that his caucus may need to not plan on running on the president’s coattails.
“I think a lot of our candidates and members have their own brand. That will serve them well. They are going to have to run their own campaigns, and maybe not draft on the top of the ticket,” Thune said.
Both parties acknowledge that the external crises have made the political environment volatile and Democrats are better positioned then they have been all year. Democrats would be smart to not get their hopes up just yet. Trump was elected in 2016 when polling and pundits indicated he could never win the White House.
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