Former President Donald Trump made a number of outlandish claims in a statement Tuesday angering Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. But one of them really stood out to me: his insistence that he had “single handedly saved” over a dozen Senate seats – including McConnell’s! – to fall into the clutches of the Democrats during the last two elections.
Here is Trump:
In ‘Mitch’s Senate,’ over the past two election cycles, I single-handedly saved at least 12 Senate seats, over eight in the 2020 cycle, and then came the Georgia disaster, where we should have won. both seats in the US Senate, but McConnell matched the Democratic offer of $ 2,000 stimulus checks with $ 600 …
“… My only regret is that McConnell ‘begged’ for my full support and support in front of the great people of Kentucky in the 2020 election, and I gave it to him. He went from a point to 20 points, and won. “
Let’s start with the second claim first – that, without Trump’s help, McConnell would have lost his re-election bid to Democrat Amy McGrath.
In early July, the same day McGrath officially entered the race, Trump tweeted an unqualified endorsement from McConnell. “Why would Kentucky ever think of giving up the most powerful position in Congress, the Senate majority leader, for a freshman Senator with little power in what will hopefully be the minority party,” Trump tweeted. “We need Mitch in the Senate to keep America great !!”
Trump appears to be citing a May 2020 poll for term limits in the United States that showed McGrath was 41% to 40% for McConnell. But it is the only survey carried out over the entire race that has shown it still close. McConnell’s odds of winning the race never fell below 93% in the 538 projections. He ended up winning by almost 20 points, the second-largest margin of victory in six terms.
The idea that Trump somehow “saved” McConnell in the 2020 competition is, in a nutshell, laughable. “I personally showed the Trump poll in the Oval Office that had @Team_Mitch up 20 points,” tweeted Kevin McLaughlin, who headed the Republican National Senate Committee in the 2020 cycle, Tuesday night. “He knows it’s not true.
Now let’s move on to Trump’s other major argument – that he “single-handedly” saved eight Senate seats in the 2020 election. Assuming that he mistakenly counts the McConnell race as a race he saved, what are the other seven?
Start here: Democrats ended up winning three seats, beating four incumbents – one each in Colorado and Arizona and two in Georgia. Republicans only swung one seat on their side – defeating Democratic Senator Doug Jones in the heavily Republican state of Alabama. In the four seats Democrats won, they profited greatly from Trump’s unpopularity – especially among suburban voters and women.
So where, exactly, did Trump save Republican seats?
While “save” is too strong a word and “saved on its own” is MUCH too strong, it seems to me that Trump’s strength within the Republican base – and his ability to transform them – has helped the senses. Joni Ernst (Iowa). And Trump wearing North Carolina – albeit narrowly – likely helped Sen. Thom Tillis (right) cross the finish line ahead of his Democratic challenger. (Note: Reports of an extramarital affair involving the Democratic candidate also clearly played a role.)
But beyond those four races, I’m struggling to find more where Trump played a major role in the GOP candidate’s victory. Certainly not in Maine, where Senator Susan Collins (right) was re-elected by 9 points, although she has been criticized for her ties to Trump in a state the 45th president has lost by 9 points. In Texas, Senator John Cornyn would have won with or without Trump. (Cornyn won his race by 9.5 points; Trump won Texas by just 5.5.) Ditto Dan Sullivan in Alaska and Roger Marshall in Kansas.
It is simply impossible for one look, even semi-objective, at the 2020 map to produce eight seats that Trump “saved”. It takes a generous reading of the card to give it partial credit for wins in even half that number.
What is Trump doing? H is rewriting the history of his presidency to suggest that without him the Republican Party would be absolutely nowhere. Of course, the reality is this: Trump left Washington with Republicans losing the White House, Senate, and House during his four years. Facts are stubborn things, eh?
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