Trump Faces His First Test Of The 2020 Election Cycle
I have been very vocal on social media about my belief that the Republican Party is heading for an electoral slaughter next year. A belief that has been reinforced by the recent slew of GOP incumbents announcing their retirement. Tomorrow, my belief will face its first test. A special election will be held in North Carolina in a district that Trump carried by double digits in 2016.
Republicans are scrambling to avoid what would be a devastating loss in the special House election in North Carolina’s 9th District.
Internal polls from both sides show Republican Dan Bishop and Democrat Dan McCready running neck and neck in a traditional GOP stronghold that was unexpectedly competitive in 2018. But privately, several Republican officials and strategists have conceded that Democrats may have an edge in voter enthusiasm in a district that President Trump won by nearly 12 points in 2016.
Republicans have sought to nationalize the race by homing in on issues like Trump’s proposed border wall and labeling McCready a “socialist.” They’re hoping that an eleventh-hour visit to the district by Trump on Monday will lend them the momentum they need to push Bishop across the finish line on Tuesday.
The decision to nationalize the race means that this will be the first test for Donald Trump of the 2020 election cycle. Should the GOP candidate lose, the excuse “well Trump was not on the ballot” will be inoperative. On the other hand, if the GOP were to hold the seat, it means that Trump still has the strength to pull Republicans down ballot over the finishing line.
UPDATE: Trump passes his first test. Republican Dan Bishop wins with 50.8% of the vote against Democrat Dan McCready's 48.6%. The president wasted no time in taking credit for the win:
Dan Bishop was down 17 points 3 weeks ago. He then asked me for help, we changed his strategy together, and he ran a great race. Big Rally last night. Now it looks like he is going to win. @CNN & @MSNBC are moving their big studio equipment and talent out. Stay tuned!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 11, 2019
Trump has earned bragging rights. Fox News reports:
Even Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) Chairwoman Cheri Bustos acknowledged that the president contributed to Bishop's win, writing in a statement, "We fell an inch short tonight, but it took more than $6 million in outside Republican spending and a last-minute Trump rally" to seal Democratic candidate Dan McCready's fate in the 9th District.
As far as my assessment that the GOP is heading for slaughter, this election doesn’t change my mind. Trump won this district by double digits just three years ago and it is considered a Republican district. Still, this is good news for the president. He can still mobilize his working class base but is it enough to win re-election?