Sunday, August 21, 2016

RNC Moves Toward “Break Glass in Case of Emergency” Mode

While I don't like to count my chickens before they hatch, as Donald Trump appears to be headed towards a perhaps resounding defeat in November, I do take some delight in the fact that the RNC is in freak out mode and, as one operative reportedly stated, the are moving towards a "break glass in case of emergency" mode to try to protect the GOP's position in the House of Representatives and the Senate.   Seriously, you nominate a loud mouth, narcissistic realty TV "star" and then seem shocked when things start heading down the crapper?  The party gave the foul and ignorance embracing GOP base what it wanted and I hope the cost to the GOP of giving in to one last extreme act of self-prostitution to the Christofascists and white supremacists is horrific.  A piece in Politico looks at the desperation gripping the RNC.  Here are excerpts:
Republicans, worried about preserving their House and Senate majorities in the face of fierce headwinds, are accelerating their plans to distance themselves from Donald Trump – and may soon concede, if only implicitly, his defeat.
Party strategists are mapping out blueprints for down-ballot candidates, in TV ads and on the campaign trail, to present themselves as checks on a Hillary Clinton presidency. It’s an approach that would essentially admit a Trump loss. In interviews, nearly one dozen Republican operatives said they had begun poll-testing the idea – which one labeled a “break glass in case of emergency” strategy - to gauge how the public would react to it.
It would represent a remarkable step – one not seen since 1996, when down-ballot Republicans, resigned to Bob Dole’s loss, campaigned as backstops to Bill Clinton’s second term. It comes at a time of mounting unease among Republicans about Trump’s prospects and how it will impact the fortunes of others. In recent days, a debate has begun to simmer among the party’s operatives about whether it will soon be time for the Republican National Committee to cut Trump off and redirect resources to congressional lawmakers.
“It would be political malpractice if you weren’t exploring the effectiveness of that messaging strategy,” said Rob Autry, a Republican pollster who’s looking into the idea. “If the current polling trends hold true, then down-ballot Republicans will need to start thinking outside the box.”

The National Republican Congressional Committee, which serves as the official House Republican campaign arm, has requested that imperiled candidates begin polling to see how voters in their districts would respond to a check-based campaign, according to two people who work with the group. (An NRCC spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment.)
GOP Rep. Bob Dold, who faces the hurdle of running for reelection in a liberal suburban Chicago district, is also considering the approach, according to two advisers. One recent Dold internal survey found that while voters were deeply unhappy with Trump, they overwhelmingly wanted their member of Congress to be a check on Clinton. Already, Dold has taken great pains to distinguish himself from the Republican nominee, even stressing that he won’t vote for him.
Republicans haven’t begun the offensive yet – but they’re flirting with it. Earlier this month, House Speaker Paul Ryan sent out a fundraising appeal, declaring, “If we fail to protect our majority in Congress, we could be handing President Hillary Clinton blank check.” This week, Mitt Romney told a group of donors on a conference call that a Clinton win was likely and that the party needed to focus resources on down-ballot races so the party could oppose her.

Republicans say the strategy could go into full effect next month, as races intensify and early voting nears in some key battlegrounds. With Trump’s poll numbers deteriorating, they add, time is of the essence.
It wouldn’t be without risk, however. In writing off Trump before Election Day arrives, Republican candidates could risk alienating his supporters – a voting bloc they desperately need.
To many, the 2016 campaign is evoking echoes of 1996. That fall, as the party’s campaign apparatus shifted focus from electing Dole to protecting the GOP congressional majorities, the NRCC aired a commercial warning that if Democrats won majorities in Congress and retained the White House it would result in higher taxes and more federal spending.
Some say it’s too early for Republicans to begin that campaign. For it to be effective, they argue, voters need to have decided that Trump can’t win – a conclusion the public hasn’t reached yet.
Chris Wilson, a prominent GOP pollster, said he was closely examining who voters believed would win the presidential race. More than half of the electorate, he said, was convinced Clinton would be the next president.
“That’s getting close to the point where we would start recommending our candidates pursue more of a midterm strategy and treat Clinton like a de facto incumbent,” he said, adding that he was holding off because Trump could still close the gap.
“Just the fact that we’re considering this counsel,” he said, “is another sign of how sadly strange this cycle is.”

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