Politics

Eight Senate Democrats Who Should Fear Trump

Endangered Democratic senators in red states and the Rust Belt can't afford to obstruct the new president

If the 2016 election were like the popular dating app Tinder, America definitely swiped left on President Obama and the progressive agenda — a massive rejection that left the county-by-county electoral map looking like a few drops of water got on Superman’s cape. But many Democrats in high places are rejecting the lessons of the 2016 election. Harry Reid and Barbara Boxer believe the Democratic route was the Constitution’s fault and are looking for ways to get rid of the Electoral College.

President Obama believes it was the fault of fake news sites and the fact that Clinton didn’t visit Iowa enough, while Hillary Clinton thinks it was FBI Director James Comey’s fault.

The last time Wisconsin and Pennsylvania went red in a presidential election before Trump, there was no such thing as the world wide web, the Berlin Wall was still standing, and teenagers were still obsessed with Billy Idol.

Election denial is running deep among Democrats as they desperately comb the Constitution for mistakes the framers made over 200 years ago which led to a Donald Trump victory in 2016. What else could it be?

#BREAKING It’s their toxic, anti-American, everybody-who-disagrees-is-racist ideology and the tactics they use to force it down the throat of middle Americans.

The 2008, 2010, 2012, 2014, and 2016 elections tell the story loud and clear. America was willing to like one progressive: President Obama. President Obama’s likability allowed him to transcend ideology and personal culpability for the growing woes of the nation’s middle class. Why else would Republicans dominate the 2016 election while Obama enjoys a job approval rating in the high 50s? Why did Republicans dominate every election in the last eight years that didn’t have President Obama on the ballot?

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Republican strategist Rory Cooper Tweeted it best, saying “Under President Obama, Democrats have lost 900+ state legislature seats, 12 governors, 69 House seats, 13 Senate seats.”

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Blindly powered-on by the flawed assumption that progressive policies are fantastically popular — Democrats are poised to use Senate rules to obstruct President Trump’s agenda. There will likely be 52 Republicans in the next Senate, but Trump will need 60 senators to make his policies and Supreme Court picks filibuster-proof.

Here are eight Democrat senators who are up for reelection in 2018 who should think long and hard before obstructing Trump’s agenda:

The Rust Belt Senators

Joe Manchin from West Virginia
Sen. Manchin will probably be siding with President Trump a lot, given the fact that Trump won West Virginia by an astounding 42 points. Of the 55 counties in West Virginia, here’s a list of the ones Trump lost:

  1. Ummm…
  2. …Hold on…
  3. …There aren’t any.

He won all 55, and won them all by double digits. Manchin will be under more pressure to support Trump’s agenda than many Republicans in the Senate. Manchin’s quick promise to support Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions’ confirmation for attorney general ,while some other Democrats are working to brand Sessions a racist, is likely a sign of things to come.

Joe Donnelly from Indiana
Like Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill, Donnelly was the beneficiary of a Republican saying something stupid. Donnelly was down in several polls before his Republican challenger’s major media misstep saved him from defeat. But Indiana has become much redder since 2012, and Donnelly will have to adjust.

Sherrod Brown from Ohio
Last time Sherrod Brown won his seat, Ohio was a blue state. Obama won Ohio by 3 points in 2012, and Brown won by 6. Trump won Ohio by 9 points. That’s a 12-point flip toward Republicans, which won’t go unnoticed by Sen. Brown.

Bob Casey from Pennsylvania and Tammy Baldwin from Wisconsin
Sens. Casey and Baldwin are used to being blue state senators, but the political environment around them has suddenly changed. Wisconsin and Pennsylvania went red for Trump in 2016. The last time Wisconsin and Pennsylvania went red in a presidential election before Trump, there was no such thing as the world wide web, the Berlin Wall was still standing, and teenagers were still obsessed with Billy Idol.

Casey and Baldwin won’t have much time to adjust to their new political reality.

Democratic Senators in Very Red States

Jon Tester from Montana
Tester is an endangered species: an allegedly pro-second amendment, pro-border security, anti-amnesty Democrat who isn’t big on free trade. He’ll already have some common ground with Trump, but Trump won Montana by 20 points, which means it would behoove Tester to find more common ground with Trump if he can.

Claire McCaskill from Missouri
Sen. McCaskill’s Senate seat was gift-wrapped for her in 2012 by Rep. Todd Akin, who said something so stupid it made national news. When McCaskill won her seat in 2012, Romney won Missouri by 9 points. Trump won Missouri by 21 points. Trump’s substantial victory helped boost endangered GOP Sen. Roy Blunt to victory. If McCaskill wants to hold onto her seat in 2018, she’ll need to align herself with Trump as often as possible — or talk Todd Akin into running again.

Heidi Heitkamp from North Dakota
Sen. Heitkamp squeaked into the Senate with a margin of victory of less than 1 point, and that was after trying to distance herself from President Obama’s policies and having former President Clinton come to the state to stump for her.

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But in 2012, Romney only won North Dakota by about 20 points. Trump won by nearly 40 — a resounding mandate for his policies that Heitkamp would be wise to recognize.

These eight dodged two midterm elections that were defined by Republican surges and were brutal for red state Democrats, but if they spend the next two years obstructing President Trump and trying to brand his administration as full of racist, xenophobic, homophobic, gender-normative, Confederate flag-waving deplorables, they may not be so lucky come 2018.

Eddie Zipperer is an assistant professor of political science at Georgia Military College and a regular LifeZette contributor.

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