Senate Brief: Republican Senate Candidates Lock In Historically Unpopular Midterm Platform

Week of Monday, June 25, 2018

IN BRIEF: Less than 140 days before Election Day, Republicans have locked in a historically unpopular campaign platform: brutal treatment of migrant children, their tax bill that overwhelmingly benefits the wealthy and big corporations, ending protections for pre-existing conditions, and repealing the Affordable Care Act.

This platform is catastrophically unpopular with voters across the country — and voters’ dislike for Republican policies cuts across political lines:

  • Family separations: 68% of independents — and 66% of all voters — oppose the Trump administration’s policy of separating children from their parents at the border.
  • Tax law: Approval of the Republican tax law slid to 34% this month, the fourth straight declinein Monmouth University’s polling this year.
  • Pre-existing conditions: 72% of independent voters — and two-thirds of all voters — oppose the Trump Administration’s position on pre-existing conditions in a legal case that could gut coverage for millions. A Kaiser Health poll last summer found 70% of Americans favored keeping protections for pre-existing conditions.
  • Repealing the Affordable Care Act: Driven by a rise in popularity among independents, the ACA is at a record high in popularity, with 55% of independent voters now approving of the law.

This is extremely unfriendly turf for Republicans heading into November. Republicans who claim otherwise are either engaging in wishful thinking or lying.

THREE TO WATCH:

  • Josh Hawley, who has “embraced Trump’s abrasive tactics,” has also fallen in line on his reckless trade policies. Last week, MissouriNet reported a Missouri-based nail manufacturer is facing closure because of the president’s steel tariffs. On Sunday, the St. Louis Post Dispatchreported Hawley’s blind loyalty to the president could put his campaign in a tricky position.
  • Dean Heller personally lobbied the U.S. Treasury to change one Nevada district’s tax designation to an “Opportunity Zone,” pushed by a major local GOP donor and brothel owner. The adjustment could result in “billions of dollars in federal benefits.” We’re guessing this kind of constituent service isn’t available for every Nevadan.
  • Martha McSally bet her political future on a stunning immigration flip-flop, includingscrubbing her name from a moderate bill in favor of a more conservative one, then scrubbing her past support for Dreamers from her website. Late last week it all went down in flames: the bill McSally bragged about helping craft failed in the House thanks to 41 Republican defectors.

THREE NUMBERS:

  • 2,342: Children separated from their parents between May 5 and June 9.
  • 51Days, on average, separated migrant children spend in Office of Refugee Resettlement shelters.
  • 3: Age, in months, of the youngest detained and separated child received by authorities in Michigan.

ONE FOR THE ROAD: “I’m Goin’ Down” by Bruce Springsteen (1985)

AND HAPPY MONDAY from American Bridge. Follow us at @JoshuaKarp @AmeliaPenniman@EmmaBeckerman1