When an unpopular president heads into reelection, it’s generally bad news for everyone else in his party who’s running for reelection. When you’re talking about a historically unpopular president, it’s even worse news for his party. But Donald Trump is taking things further. He’s not just passively screwing the Republican Party by being unpopular. He’s now making a point of actively screwing the Republican Party’s prospects in 2020.
Multiple major news outlets reported yesterday that the Donald Trump 2020 campaign is planning to prevent Republican candidates running in downticket races from accessing the Trump campaign’s internal polling data by region. There’s a fairly obvious reason for this. The Trump campaign doesn’t want GOP candidates to know which districts he’s doing the most poorly in, for fear the candidates in those districts might decide to run on an anti-Trump platform.
There’s a logical reason for Donald Trump to do this. It’s already going to be excruciatingly difficult for Trump to win in 2020. The last thing he needs is Republican candidates in House races seeing just how unpopular Trump is in their district, and then proceeding to publicly trash Trump in the name of trying to get themselves reelected. The trouble is, this logic is sinister, as Trump is making it far more difficult for GOP candidates in swing districts to figure out the most favorable strategy. Trump is all but guaranteeing that, whether he wins in 2020 or not, there will be fewer Republicans in the House than there otherwise could have been.
Republican candidates can still look at public polling, and their own internal polling, in order to try to figure out whether to run with or against Donald Trump in 2020. But none of that data is going to be nearly as detailed or accurate as the kind of sophisticated internal polling that a well-funded presidential campaign can come up with. Trump is screwing the GOP in 2020, in a last ditch effort at saving himself. It’s already gotten that ugly for him.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report