Last night we saw Donald Trump get humiliated when Republican Matt Bevin somehow managed to lose his reelection bid in the deeply red state of Kentucky, even after Trump held a major rally for him. Bevin ended up underperforming his poll numbers, suggesting that the last-minute Trump rally may have actually hurt his prospects.
As Palmer Report and everyone else in politics has spent the day explaining, this translates to potentially terrible news for Mitch McConnell. Bevin was uniquely unpopular in Kentucky, but so is McConnell – and Donald Trump’s toxicity has created an environment where flawed Republicans can lose their reelection bids in red states.
Donald Trump is hoping no one will figure this out, of course. He’s spent the day making up laugh-out-loud lies on Twitter about how Bevin was somehow fifteen to twenty points down before Trump got involved and nearly put him over the top. In reality, recent polls had Bevin either tied or up by a small margin, so Trump’s claim is laughable. Maybe Trump’s idiot base will swallow it. But despite all the things that are objectionable about Mitch McConnell, he is not an idiot.
Donald Trump is trying to pull a fast one on McConnell today by tweeting things like “Based on the Kentucky results, Mitch McConnell will win BIG in Kentucky next year!” But McConnell has survived as an openly corrupt politician for decades because he’s savvy enough to know how the game works. McConnell knows darn well that last night’s results are terrible news for him, and he knows that throwing Trump overboard may ultimately be his own best option of surviving in Kentucky.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report