The news for the Republican Party keeps getting worse. A Bloomberg poll found that only 32% of the people view the Republican Party favorably, compared to 49% for the Democrats. Yesterday, another poll found Democrats leading Republicans in the generic Congressional vote by eleven points, a margin that puts control of the House in play.
Those numbers are a reflection of what Trump has done to the GOP, or more accurately, they’re what the GOP has done to itself by nominating Trump. According to one poll, 70% of the electorate has an unfavorable view of Trump and the Democrats have just begun to define him. He trails Clinton nationally by six and that number is probably growing.
Here in North Carolina, the Democrats are going on the attack. Clinton now has a larger television buy in North Carolina than in any other state. They’re putting people on the ground to build a large-scale grassroots campaign. If 2010 was a perfect storm for Republicans, Democrats wants to make 2016 a near-perfect one for Democrats.
Republicans have a mess. Candidates like Richard Burr, Pat McCrory, and Richard Hudson have endorsed Trump because, if they don’t, they risk angering the base of GOP voters who gave The Donald the nomination. But by embracing him, they risk losing the more rational part of the state that’s rejecting Trump. They will likely try to make the argument that Trump is the lesser of evils. That’s probably not going to wash.
In this environment, Democrats can pick up Congressional seats in North Carolina but they’ve got to support the campaigns. In the 8th District, where I’m running, Kay Hagan won within the current district lines by two points in 2008. In addition, 28% of the likely voters are African-American, Hispanic, or Native American. If Hagan could win eight years ago, we can certainly win this year when the GOP is crashing and burning.
With the GOP takeover of North Carolina, the Congressional seats may not garner as much attention as the state races, but they are every bit as important this year. Clinton will almost certainly be President of the United States. Democrats have an opportunity to send her to the White House with majorities in both Houses of Congress. If that happens, they can raise the minimum wage, rebuild our crumbling infrastructure, close the wage gap, reduce income inequality, fight climate change, address gun violence, tackle campaign finance reform, and offer additional housing and job protections for LGBT citizens.
But it won’t happen if Democrats don’t compete in traditionally tough districts. Instead, we’ll face more gridlock and a House of Representatives still held hostage by GOP extremists and groups like the NRA. To take control of Congress, they’ll have to win districts like NC-08.
This year, Democrats have an opportunity. They should seize it and aggressively support the Congressional races that could transform our government. Now is not the time to be cautious. Take advantage of the Trump Tsunami.