Republicans, by their own admission, are being swamped in the money race. Democrats’ sky-high enthusiasm translates into record-setting fundraising totals for their Senate candidates. In South Carolina, Democratic candidate Jaime Harrison, who is challenging Republican Sen. Lindsey O. Graham, “started out the year by posting impressive fundraising totals each quarter — $7.37 million and $14 million, respectively — and outraising Graham each quarter too,” Cook Political Report finds. “Democrats expect a historic third-quarter fundraising haul from Harrison too, who’s been raising money at a fast clip ($10.6 million in August alone) even before Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death last month where ActBlue donations poured into campaigns across the board.” Graham has taken to pleading on Fox News for more money, but money isn’t his problem and, in any event, Harrison has more of it.
Likewise in Iowa, where Democratic challenger Theresa Greenfield brought in a stunning $28.7 million in the third quarter alone in her race against Republican Sen. Joni Ernst. Democrats enjoy similar money advantages in Senate races in Colorado and North Carolina. In short, even if there are funds to shift to struggling Republicans, from all appearances it seems Democrats will simply raise more.
The big problem is that Senate Republicans wrapped themselves so tightly around Trump — defending his plainly impeachable conduct in the Senate trial, excusing his covid-denialism, ignoring his racist language and incitement to violence and declining to stop his financial self-dealing — that it’s too late to scurry away from the sinking Trump ship. When the GOP eschewed a convention platform this summer in favor of heaping praise on Trump, Republicans made clear that they have no position other than Trump idolatry. Even now, they seem not to have learned anything.
Graham recklessly refuses to take a coronavirus test and pushes ahead with Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation as his opponent makes hay of Graham’s opposition to the Affordable Care Act. As Cook Political Report notes, Harrison ads feature women slamming Graham — who is struggling to gain women’s support — on health care and saying that “Harrison’s ‘values’ now more closely reflect their values. Harrison has made this race about character and in other Democratic ads they turn the tables and paint Graham as part of the ‘swamp,’ and that seems to be working.” Graham makes the mistake of thinking that confirming a staunchly conservative justice will help him; in fact, it underscores his disconnect from voters he once carried easily.
The crazier Trump seems in the last stretch (pleading for indictments of his political opponents, recklessly spreading covid-19, on-again-off-again stimulus negotiations), the more pathetic the Republicans who enabled him look. This is the guy you said had it all figured out? This was the guy you defended as a victim of liberal elites? These Republicans long ago threw away independent judgment, character, responsiveness to the voters back home and honesty, for fear of provoking Trump’s ire or the condemnation of the right-wing media and the MAGA crowd. It turns out winning is awfully hard, even in red states, when your Trump sycophancy horrifies women, college-educated voters, non-White voters, young voters and seniors. Money is the least of Republicans’ troubles.