A consensus is taking hold: Trump’s closing argument – a toxic stew of lies, racism and fear mongering –- backfired.
Races called yesterday help make the case. Martha McSally, a once-moderate Republican veteran compared to Senator John McCain, became awfully Trumpy on her way to being defeated by Kyrsten Sinema. Jeff Denham, a California Republican who continually outperformed his district’s partisan leanings, finally went down at the hands of Democrat Josh Harder. Dana Rohrabacher, a mainstay of conservative Orange County, lost to Democrat Harley Rouda. Meanwhile, post-election polling in Pennsylvania and Colorado supports the argument that Trump’s focus on juicing his base also juiced turnout and opposition from suburban whites, people of color and young voters.
See below for some of the latest observations:
In Arizona, Trump’s xenophobia, and McSally’s correlated megaphone of racism, likely sealed Sinema’s win:
As the New York Times’ Maggie Haberman and Mark Landler report, “In some places like Arizona, where the Democratic Senate candidate, Kyrsten Sinema, narrowly beat her Republican opponent, Martha McSally, analysts said the caravan might actually have backfired. Ms. McSally echoed Mr. Trump’s language about the coming wave of migrants, calling it a ‘public safety and national security issue.’”
The article quotes a tweet by Democratic political strategist David Axelrod: “The president’s calculated histrionics about the caravan, about which we have heard very little since Election Day, may have sunk the @GOP in AZ.”
Grant Woods, a former Republican Arizona attorney general, echoed that consensus, “The extremism of the current Republican Party is a losing strategy for the future. In the Southwest in particular, where we’re talking about a diverse population and, increasingly, a younger population, people just aren’t going to put up with it.”
In California, Trump’s closing anti-immigrant argument dealt a similar blow to Jeff Denham:
Following Jeff Denham’s defeat in California-10, Politico’s Rachael Bade tweeted:
Another California Republican goes down:@RepJeffDenham. Wow. Denham was up until Trump’s 11th hour controversial immigration rhetoric, my GOP sources told me. More proof Trump made them bleed more.
Former Republican Assembly leader Kirstin Olsen diagnoses the problem:
The California Republican Party isn’t salvageable at this time. The Grand Old Party is dead – partly because it has failed to separate itself from today’s toxic, national brand of Republican politics….We have lost our way, and it’s killing any opportunity for political balance and thoughtful debate in California, elements that good public policy relies on….For Republicans, the first step is to acknowledge that we have a serious internal problem. Ignoring the toxicity is not enough, as California’s election results demonstrate. We must call it out and model a different and better way because that’s what our fellow Californians deserve.
In Colorado and Pennsylvania, new polling from Global Strategy Group and The Immigration Hub, captures the Trump Backlash:
- Barletta’s Trumpian immigration positions were a net negative, overall and among Casey-Trump voters: 46% of voters believed that Barletta’s similarities to Trump on immigration were a reason to vote against him, while only 37% saw this as a positive for Barletta.
- Pennsylvania voters found Barletta’s anti-immigrant platform more concerning than the Republican rhetoric of aligning Casey with sanctuary cities and open borders, by a margin of 48% to 37%. The margin among Casey-Trump voters was even wider, at 52% to 32%.
- 58% of overall Pennsylvania voters were in clear opposition to Trump’s zero-tolerance policy at the border, including 60% of Casey-Trump voters who opposed the policy.
- In both the governor’s race and CD-06, voters favored Democratic candidates’ stances on immigration. Statewide voters agreed more with Jared Polis than Walker Stapleton on immigration by a 42% to 37% margin, and CD-06 voters agreed more with Jason Crow than Mike Coffman on the issue by a 47% to 41% margin.
- Across Colorado, 57% of voters said that Trump and the GOP are moving further away from their political views on immigration. In fact, Colorado voters, including 55% of statewide voters and 60% of independents, saw the migrant caravan issue as “playing politics” and want less division and more problem-solving.
- Anti-immigrant scapegoating is out of step with the way most Coloradans view immigrants – as contributors to the state’s growth and success: 54% of overall Colorado voters believe that Colorado should be a welcoming place for immigrants.
- 64% of voters statewide said when it comes to immigration, the top priority should be to stop dividing people and to work on bipartisan solutions to fix the country’s immigration system.