But if Senate Republicans are going to have it bad, they're doing their darnedest to make sure Senate Democrats have it bad, too. The web ad their national campaign committee released Friday (above) asks the simple question: Is Hillary Clinton a drag on Senate Democrats?
Their conclusion, it won't surprise you to hear, is yes. Clinton has got a decades-long trail in politics that's all too easy to pick from to make Senate Democratic candidates, especially in red-leaning states, squirm. Will they run from Benghazi? Her emails? What about Whitewater? Not to mention the fact she's a career politician who can come across as wooden on the campaign trail. Oh, and that politician-y "fake laugh," which is used liberally in the ad.
The ad almost seems like someone took a Democratic ad tying Republicans to Trump -- several already exist -- and just swapped in Clinton, along with her most negative criticisms and a few Republican senators.
But is there any weight behind the argument? That, perhaps, is to be determined as the presidential campaign starts shifting to the general election. Right now, we just don't see any Democratic candidates publicly tormented by whether to associate with Clinton -- especially not to the degree Senate Republicans are trying to reconcile their support for Trump. And that's a pretty good indicator.
But Republicans think it's an undersold story that Clinton's approval ratings in many swing states, like Pennsylvania, are underwater -- that is, more people dislike her than like her. Clinton is indeed beatable in a presidential election, we've written, and if not for Trump, she would be the one setting a new standard for an unpopular major party nominee.
Clearly, we have more questions than answer right now about the effectiveness of Senate Republicans' attempt to hold the mirror up to Senate Democrats when it comes to the top of the ticket. There is one thing we can all take away from this ad: It's the latest example that 2016 is going to be a nasty race to the bottom, headed by two unlikable presidential candidates.
Get ready, folks.