Donald Trump may not go down in history as one of our “big thinker” presidents, but he will be remembered for attending more campaign rallies and spewing more political rhetoric than his predecessors.
Trump plans to hold campaign rallies in eight states next week in a final push ahead of November elections that will determine whether Republicans retain control of Congress.
Make no mistake: The 2018 midterm election is all about Trump. And if Republicans keep control of Congress expect him to take credit, and if they lose it expect him to blame Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan.
Trump will travel to Missouri, West Virginia, Montana, Indiana, Ohio, Georgia, Tennessee and Florida in the final days before the Nov. 6 vote.
All are states the president carried in the 2016 election and have competitive races for either Congress or governor.
Trump plans to hold at least 10 rallies in the space of six days, with two in battleground Florida.
The decision to send Trump to Florida twice illustrates the importance of the state not only in 2018, but in 2020, when Trump expects to run for reelection.
Trump has invested heavily in former Republican Representative Ron DeSantis’ bid to become the state’s next governor.
Trump’s endorsement pushed DeSantis to victory in the GOP primary and a win for him in the general election would keep the nation’s biggest swing state under Republican control in the next presidential campaign.
The current governor, Republican Rick Scott, is seeking to unseat Democratic Senator Bill Nelson on Nov. 6. Nelson’s defeat would all but kill Democrats’ already slim chances of winning a Senate majority.
But both Republicans are in close contests. Nelson has a three-point lead in an average of polls compiled by RealClear Politics. Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, the Democratic candidate for governor, has maintained an edge over DeSantis in most recent polls.
Florida also is home to five Republican House members who are facing strong challenges from Democrats in the midterm election.
An internal memo from White House director of political affairs Bill Stepien, obtained by Bloomberg, suggests Trump’s team is making preparations to explain away a Republican loss of the House and position Trump to claim credit if the party holds onto control of the Senate or even expands its margin.
The memo stresses the challenging political climate for Republican incumbents, emphasizing the historical headwinds for the president’s party in midterm congressional elections, the large number of Republican incumbents retiring and Democratic challengers’ fundraising advantages. The memo says Democratic challengers out-raised incumbent House Republicans in 92 districts in the last quarter.
Stepien also argues that states in which incumbent Democratic senators have faced tough challenges are competitive “only because of Trump” and the Republican party has “no better messenger.”