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Opinion Opinions | Watch Senate Republicans. They might reach the point of no return.

18:25  18 october  2019
18:25  18 october  2019 Source:   washingtonpost.com

The Senate GOP's no-win scenario

  The Senate GOP's no-win scenario In response to news reports over the weekend that at least one additional administration whistleblower has come forward to say what he or she knows about President Trump's Ukrainian schemes, South Carolina Sen. The most charitable view of Graham's sycophancy is that the president has put him and GOP senators in general in a no-win predicament. The political hell most Senate Republicans have found themselves in since 2016 can be described as the chasm between how Trump wants them to behave and how they believe they should govern.

Editor’s note: The opinions in this article are the author’s, as published by our content partner, and do not necessarily represent the views of MSN or Microsoft.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) responded to acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney’s confession that Ukrainian aid was held up until the Ukrainian government would help him prove his cock-and-bull story about the Democratic National Committee server and find dirt for him on former vice president Joe Biden.

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“Yes, absolutely that’s a concern,” Murkowski said. "You don’t hold up foreign aid that we had previously appropriated for a political initiative. Period.”

This suggests that a certain type of Republican (one with a modicum of independence, a smidgen of patriotism and/or a healthy survival instinct) might reach the point of no return based on Mulvaney’s confession and Trump’s comment in his July 25 call (he needed “a favor though," he told the Ukrainian president). With a stream of mid-level career civil servants available to attest to the holdup in aid — despite Mulvaney’s attempt to walk back his confession later — there can be little doubt of a quid pro quo, otherwise known as an extortion attempt by President Trump to use government funds to attain personal political advantage.

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How many Mitt Romneys and Lisa Murkowskis are out there? Well, let’s look at some polling. Morning Consult finds that “Republicans representing Colorado, Arizona, North Carolina, Maine and Iowa all saw their net approval — the share of voters who approve of a senator’s job performance minus the share who disapprove — decline between the second and third quarters of 2019.” Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) and Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), who could not manage to tell us whether it is wrong for the president to enlist a foreign government to influence our elections, are down 9 points and 3 points, respectively.

Ernst is in particular trouble. “The slide places her underwater with Iowa voters (39 percent approve and 43 percent disapprove) for the first time and among the 10 most unpopular senators in the country,” the polls found. “Iowa voters of all partisan leanings soured on the first-term senator, but GOP voters were most likely to take a dimmer view of her job performance. Her net approval dropped by 13 points among Republicans, compared with respective 9- and 7-point drops among Democrats and independents.” Uh-oh.

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Ernst is not alone. “Ernst is not the only Republican up for re-election next year with a home-state approval below 40 percent: Among the vulnerable incumbents, Martha McSally of Arizona, Cory Gardner of Colorado and Thom Tillis of North Carolina are all below that threshold following a quarter where each saw little movement.”

Meanwhile, vulnerable Democratic incumbents are rising in polls. Sens. Gary Peters (D-Mich.) and Doug Jones (D-Ala.) are up 1 points and 3 points, respectively. If these sort of numbers persist, or get even worse for Republicans, Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) will lose his majority.

McConnell, infamous for his shameless, ice-water-in-his-veins brand of politics, will do whatever he must to save his members. If that means shoving Trump off-stage, he will gladly do it. (Notice his especially tough condemnation of Trump’s Syria debacle.)

A mound of evidence of plainly impeachable conduct. A GOP majority at risk. One could reasonably expect to see indications that a significant number of Republican senators would kick Trump to the curb to save their own necks and the GOP Senate majority. The game of chicken (“Resign, or we vote to remove you!”) might begin in earnest. Alternatively, Trump could decide that he has accomplished more in three years than any other president accomplished in eight (the best ever!). Why not retire early, grab a pardon from Mike Pence and spend all his time golfing? It is not as far-fetched as it used to be.

Senate Republicans block two election security bills

  Senate Republicans block two election security bills Senate Republicans on Tuesday blocked legislation that would provide funding for states to shore up election security and create more transparency around online advertisements.Senate Majority Whip John Thune (R-S.D.) blocked passage of the Honest Ads Act, sponsored by Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), saying work was needed to make the measure more bipartisan.Klobuchar's bill, whose lone GOP cosponsor is Sen. Lindsey Graham (S.C.), would require online platforms to make "all reasonable efforts" to ensure foreign entities are not buying political ads. It also would require public disclosure of who paid for the ad.

Read more:

The Post’s View: Mick Mulvaney’s comments on Trump and Ukraine couldn’t have been clearer

Jennifer Rubin: Impeachment is now a slam dunk

Greg Sargent: Mick Mulvaney’s role in the latest Trump scandal just deepened

The Post’s View: There’s yet another level to the Trump administration’s corruption in Ukraine

Paul Waldman: Sondland’s testimony raises new questions about Giuliani’s role in scandal

Trump should be very worried about Senate Republicans .
They won't defend him on the merits.Think of Senate Republicans’ current antics protesting “secret” House hearings on impeachment — in which Republicans sit on the relevant committees — as not simply spurious (recall that Benghazi depositions were held by the House in private), but a warning sign to President Trump that his allies in the Senate seem altogether unwilling to defend him on the merits.

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