Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., answers questions from reporters about challenges facing President Barack Obama's health care overhaul law in the Supreme Court next week, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Friday, March 23, 2012. The GOP leader criticized the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, often referred to as "Obamacare," as the single worst piece of legislation during his time in Congress. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Republicans’ Odds of Keeping the Senate Go Below Fifty Percent

As more and more Republicans are privately thinking Trump could be the Republican nominee, Senate Republicans are starting to worry about keeping the Senate.

With the Democratic nomination a fait accompli as well, and most general-election polling showing Hillary Clinton leading Trump by between 7 and 11 points, the question is less about the outcome of the presidential contest and more about the fallout. In 2012, Mitt Romney managed to win the independent vote by a 5-point margin, 50 to 45 percent. With Trump’s negatives among independents even worse than Clinton’s, it’s doubtful that Trump will per form better than Romney among that group.

What’s more disturbing for the GOP is that Trump is having trouble with in his own party. Romney won 93 percent of the vote among self-described Republicans, but Trump will be extremely hard-pressed to reach that level. In the most recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, conducted in late April, 42 percent of Republicans viewed Trump positively and an identical 42 percent viewed him negatively. Obviously the animosity among Republicans toward Clinton is extraordinarily high, but it’s questionable whether it’s high enough to prevent the GOP vote sinking below levels recorded in 2008 and 2012.

So what now? In the Senate, where Republicans once appeared to have a better-than-even chance of holding onto their majority, the odds now seem closer to 40 percent, or perhaps even to 30 percent.

This, again, is why so many Republicans are talking about a third party. Trump is viewed negatively by 42% of the Republican Party and the odds are increasing that a lot of Republicans would simply not show up in November. That drives down the available votes for Republicans down the ballot, including in the Senate.

For those of you mourning the potential loss of the Senate, though, remember that most Senators have done nothing to stop Trump. In fact, privately, a number of Republican Senators are fine with losing because it would mean for certain that Cruz lost. These, of course, are senators calculating that they can get the Senate back in two years because of a President Clinton. The whole calculation for them is self-interest.

Things are going to end badly for the GOP with Trump as the nominee and everyone sees it except Trump’s supporters.

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Erick Erickson

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