MCCONNELL: Well, he has his own agenda. And my take is that we’re going to focus on this administration and the future, what they are trying to do in the country and make it a referendum in the fall of 22 on what people think about this new government that they narrowly elected as they continue the Senate 50-50 and a more tight score in the House.
So when directly When asked whether he wanted Donald Trump to campaign for the Republican Senate candidates in next year’s midterm election, McConnell absolutely said “Well, he has his own agenda!” Which, just in case you need me to translate this political language, means “mo, never, not in a million years “ – Or something like that.
A look at McConnell’s full answer explains why he doesn’t want Trump to get into these key Senate races. He wants the focus to be entirely on “this administration and the future, what they are trying to do in the country and make it a referendum in the fall of 22 on what people think of this new government”.
McConnell (and his Republican colleagues in the Senate and House) cannot make the 2022 midterm a pure referendum on President Joe Biden’s first two years in office if Trump is in the United States to explain how he got it. really won the 2020 election and how the GOPers must help him reverse the results.
Which, strategically speaking, is the right decision. Historically, the president’s party has been crushed in the House in the first midterm election of his term as voters seek to balance the scales midway through the four-year term. Trump lost 40 seats in 2018. Barack Obama lost 63 in the 2010 midterms. Bill Clinton lost 40 seats in the midterm of 1994.
The problem for McConnell is that, as he admitted on Fox, Trump “has his own agenda.” Which implies that Trump’s agenda and McConnell’s agenda don’t really match. And there’s a zero percent chance Trump won’t loom halfway through in a way that could complicate McConnell’s hopes of regaining a majority next November.
For example, Trump has already made it clear that he plans to campaign against Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski next year, as punishment for his lack of loyalty to him during his tenure. “She is the best friend the Democrats in Washington have ever had – and Alaska’s reward for this betrayal is an empowered left coming after their wealth and their jobs,” Trump said of Murkowski in a statement Monday. “I think she will be greeted very hard by voters in Alaska in 15 months, and I will be there to campaign against her!”
The problem for McConnell is a) Murkowski is the incumbent and b) she is the Republican candidate best equipped to easily take the Republican seat. Trump, of course, laughs at all of this. He wants revenge on Murkowski for voting to impeach him for his actions on January 6. It is not about what is good for the Republican Party. That’s pretty much (as always) what’s good for Donald Trump.
While Alaska is the most vivid example of how Trump’s presence (and interference) could cripple Senate Republicans, it is far of the only example.
Former Trump-backed NFL football player Herschel Walker has shown potential interest in running against Senator Raphael Warnock in Georgia. Warnock is widely regarded as one of Democrats’ most vulnerable incumbents – and appointing someone like Walker, who has never been a candidate before and currently lives in Texas, would pose a major risk.
In Missouri, the prospect of Trump endorsing controversial Governor Eric Greitens in the primary race to replace Senator Roy Blunt worries Republicans in Washington. Ditto Trump’s vocal support for Sean Parnell’s candidacy for the Pennsylvania Senate. (Parnell lost a House race in 2020, again with strong support from the former president.)
Trump’s approval over the weekend of Representative Ted Budd for the open seat in North Carolina makes the congressman the top favorite. But former Gov. Pat McCrory is also in the running, and has been seen by some GOP strategists as their strongest candidate in one of the country’s most dynamic states.
In Wisconsin, Trump has publicly urged Senator Ron Johnson to run for a third term – though the incumbent may also be, well, Trump for the Badger State electorate.
So here is. McConnell may want Trump to stay out of Senate races – and let the, uh, experts run things. But this is Donald Trump we’re talking about, so there’s absolutely no way that will happen.