Democrats’ dreams of rebound turn into a nightmare entering final two-week sprint to Election Day
The Democratic Party appears to be entering a final, two-week sprint to Election Day that is far from normal political calculus.
The party’s presidential nominee is behind in the polls, and a wave of Democratic down-ballot candidates and vulnerable incumbents in Congress is starting to come into focus. And with a Republican Party led by Donald Trump in charge of the White House for the first time since the ’90s, Democrats, and even their own candidates, face a tough choice: stick with Trump, or get behind the new Democratic president, who has never held elected office, and who is in many ways just a different kind of conservative.
That could mean that Democrats’ dreams of a winnable, second term will instead be a nightmare into the early November Nov. 8 elections, when Democratic turnout numbers will be down, and key Democratic incumbents are at risk of losing key Senate races to Republicans, with Trump at the head of the ticket and Democratic control of the Senate.
A new Washington Post/ABC News poll shows Trump leading Hillary Clinton by just 2 percentage points in the national race, with 51 percent to 45 percent support for the Democrat. And only 27 percent of voters say they’ll vote for Trump with Clinton leading, and 35 percent say they’ll vote for Clinton, but only if he’s replaced by a Democratic president.
Clinton, in turn, leads Trump among voters in deep-blue Virginia by 4 points (53 percent to 46 percent). And, when it comes to the Senate, Clinton has a slight lead over Trump in Tennessee (48 percent to 45 percent), and a 4-point lead in Arizona (47 percent to 45 percent).
“What is happening in Virginia and Arizona is going to be critical for the election to come down to and for Democrats to make up to some of the Senate seats they can’t take,” says Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics, who is tracking the races there.
The last two weeks of the race are also crucial for Democrats, and especially for their presidential nominee, who has been in a string of controversies – most recently over a leaked email about the Democratic National Committee and Clinton’s use of a private email server while secretary of state. Republicans have a lot on their plate in terms of holding their