Friday, August 7, 2020

Update on Senate Races - Kansas, South Carolina and Texas; Biden's "Diversity" Gaffe

I wanted to update readers on the status of Senate races:

Kansas:  The Republican Party believes it dodged a bullet when the unpopular former Kansas Secretary
of State lost the Senate GOP primary to Congressman Roger Marshall.  Democrats believed they could beat Kobach, but doing so against any other Republican be difficult.  After Marshall's victory, Democrats seemed willing to write off the state and focus on other states.   Kansas though may still be in play.  A post-primary poll released by Public Policy Polling today shows Democratic challenger Barbara Bollier, a state senator and former Republican, only trailing by 1 point.  A PPP poll in March showed Marshall beating Bollier by 10 points.  While Bollier may win, it is more li.kely to be a result of a Democratic "rising tide raises all boats" victory rather than Democrats pouring in resources to try to win the State.  

South Carolina:  The good news for those of us who want to see Trump enablers voted out of office is that Senator Lindsey Graham appears to be in real trouble.  A highly-regarded Quinnipiac poll today has Democrat Jaimie Harrison tied with Graham, and Trump leading by only 5.  That poll is not an aberration.  On Wednesday, a Morning Consult poll had Graham up by 1 point and Trump leading by 5.  Two polls in late July had Graham up 4 and 2 points.  With President Trump in office, Graham abandoned his principles and traditional independence to engage in unending presidential bootlicking.  Turns out South Carolina voters are not enamored with Lindsey Graham 2.0.

Iowa:  Speaking of Trump bootlickers, Iowa Senator Joni Ernst also appears to fighting for her political survival.  Two polls released yesterday, show Ernst trailing her Democratic opponent Theresa Greenfield by 2 and 4 points.  A more highly respected pollster, Monmouth University, published a poll early in the week showing Ernst leading by 3 points.  That poll also had Trump only with a 3 point lead in Iowa.  In many ways, the situation in Iowa is like South Carolina in that you have two incumbent Republican Senators who went all in on Trumpism only to find out that Trump has lost considerable support in the state since he won it handily in 2016.  (Trump won South Carolina by 14.2 points and Iowa by 9.4. in 2016.)

Kentucky:  For those of you who desperately want Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell defeated, don't get your hopes up.  While Quinnipiac shows his opponent Amy McGrath within 5 points of the Senate Majority Leader, most other polls show McConnell with a much larger lead.  Perhaps more importantly, unlike South Carolina and Iowa, Trump remains very popular in Kentucky.  

OOP's short takes:
  • So Joe Biden put his foot in his mouth yesterday.  The Democratic gaffe-machine said that unlike Latinos, African-Americans are not diverse.  Biden since has had to clarify that comment.   Biden no doubt was talking about political diversity among the two groups.  In the United States, when one discusses Latino voters, you're talking about Cuban-Americans, Mexican-Americans and Puerto Ricans.   The first group votes Republican, particularly in Southern Florida.  While Mexican-Americans vote Democratic, some Republican candidates have been able to get nearly 50% of the Mexican-American vote.  Puerto Rican voters, on the other hand, vote heavily Democrat.  So to do African-Americans.  That no doubt is the "diversity" Biden was referring to.  But a political speech is not the forum to make casual observations about voting patterns.  Not surprisingly, Biden's words were mischaracterized as a slam on African-Americans.
  • Trump supporters no doubt believe they can take advantage of Biden's gaffe to entice more African-Americans to vote for the President.  Yeah, good luck with that.  On Election Day, Trump's support among African-Americans will not reach double figures. However, there is a danger to Biden is that if he continues such slip-ups he will be seen as taking African-American voters for granted causing a significant percentage to stay home on Election Day Week Month.  I highly doubt it will happen, but Biden's gaffe certainly increases the possibility that he chooses an African-American running mate
  • Turns out Republican operatives are helping rapper Kanye West get on the ballot.  I know how many of my Republican colleagues think. They have the simple-minded view that if you offer African-Americans the opportunity to vote for a black candidate, they will vote for that candidate instead of a white Democrat.  In my entire time in politics, I've never seen that strategy work.  What is really sad is that Republicans are so eager to exploit a man who is well-known to have serious psychological problems.  Have they no sense of decency?
  • Indiana reported the most ever new Covid-19 cases yesterday.   That record of 1,040 lasted one day. Today, Indiana reported 1,239.   I knew a virus surge would eventually make its way to Hoosierland.  It may now be our time in the barrel.  Stay safe.

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