When I read these lines in a Washington Post profile of Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney over the weekend, I gasped:
“When staff from the National Republican Congressional Committee rose to explain the party’s latest polling in core battleground districts [at an April retreat], they left out a key finding about Trump’s weakness, declining to divulge the information even when directly questioned about Trump’s support by a member of Congress, according to two people familiar with what transpired. … Trump’s unfavorable ratings were 15 points higher than his favorable ones in the core districts, according to the full polling results, which were later obtained by The Washington Post.”
Go back and read that. And consider what it makes clear.
It’s this: The campaign officials charged with helping Republicans win back their majority in 2022 are keeping deeply relevant information about former President Donald Trump’s negative impact from GOPers running in key seats.
That is, quite literally, the definition of political malpractice. And, at least according to the Post, it’s not the first time it’s happened.
“Cheney was alarmed, she later told others, in part because Republican campaign officials had also left out bad Trump polling news at a March retreat for ranking committee chairs,” reported the Post.
Why would these campaign types be purposely leaving out data that will, quite clearly, impact critical campaigns in the battle for the House majority? I’m a broken record here, but the answer is simple: They are terrified of Trump and the base he commands.
So terrified that they are willing to jeopardize the party’s chances of winning back the House in order to preserve the cult of personality around Trump and the 2020 election that he lost.
From the perspective of these campaign officials – and NRCC Chairman Tom Emmer – they are doing what they need to survive in this moment in Republican politics. Trump has repeatedly shown a willingness to attack those who cross him – and use the utter fealty he commands among his base to end (or curtail) political careers.
And so, rather than give GOP members the honest truth about Trump – he’s widely popular among the base and not at all popular with the general electorate – they perpetuate the myth that aligning with Trump is A-OK as a winning strategy!
The Point: This is shortsighted politics. History suggests Republicans should win back the majority in November 2022 – but hewing so closely to a deeply unpopular former President spouting election lies may be the one way to keep history from repeating itself.