A Democrat in Republican Terrain


They take one last ride around the world, the EMMY award winning Anthony, bourdain parts, unknown the final episodes chairs, Sundays at nine on CNN. Hey, everyone. I'm David chalian CNN political director, and this is the daily DC. Thanks so much for listening today. Once again, the podcast is coming at you from mcallen Texas where CNN is hosting a big better work. Townhall tonight moderated by Danna bash, be sure to tune in at seven pm eastern. We've talked a lot on this podcast. This cycle about how different the political terrain is in the battle for control of the United States Senate versus the battle for control of the US house of representatives. And I just think a perfect example to illustrate this was put out today by the Donnelly campaign. That's the incumbent democratic Senator. Joe Donnelly running for re election in very deep red Indiana. Now I say very deep red. It was one of those states that Barack Obama in two thousand eight was able to flip from red to blue, but it's also one that even for his own reelection for years later in two thousand twelve, Mitt Romney was able to grab back. So. Not that it been forever since it voted in a presidential election for democrat, and obviously Donnelly himself got elected six years ago, but it is a deep red state, and it is one of those five states that we have often talked about where a democratic incumbent Senator is up for reelection in a state that Donald Trump won by double digits. So this was not a narrow Donald Trump victory in Indiana over Hillary Clinton just two years ago that being said, you'll know that Joe Donnelly, he voted to confirm Neal Gorsuch. He was one of those three democratic senators who voted to confirm Neal Gorsuch, but he voted against the confirmation of bread Cavanaugh and there was some polling out. I believe it was NBC mirrors poll that was looking at how people may have reacted to that. And there didn't seem to be a huge net negative for him, or frankly, for Claire mccaskill in Missouri the way that the poll showed that there. Was a huge net negative for Heidi Heitkamp in voting against Cavanaugh and at the time part of what I was saying as to why I think he may be able to sort of get by with his vote is that although it is deep red in places like Indianapolis, where there's a big African American population or places like college town, like in Bloomington, Indiana, where Indiana University is and a lot of young people, there are some natural base constituency areas in Indiana in a way that there just isn't in a place like North Dakota or a place like West Virginia. So some natural democratic base vote certainly exists in Indiana, but it is not. And by any stretch of the imagination, really a purple state clearly not a blue state. So for people like Joe Donnelly or Claire mccaskill, then you always have to sort of do that calculus of how do you separate yourself from the National Democratic Party whose Br. May not be at all welcome in Indiana in a positive way without dampening any of the enthusiasm in some of those places where there is natural based democratic constituency who are pretty fired up in their anti-trump feelings this year, and you want them to turn out in bigger numbers than you ever have before. So you gotta get those base communities. So fired up without turning off the huge swath that you need in the middle. And even some wavering Republicans to come on board in a place like Indiana in order to get reelected if you're Joe Donnelly. Well, today the Donald campaign released an ad that is an attention grabbing add. There's no doubt about that. It has him splitting with an axe a piece of wood on a chopping block, and it is to be the visual representation of how he splits with his own party. So this is an ad that is all about Joe Donnelly sh- trying to do his best to shed the d. that comes after his name for democrat. And not be associated with the National Democratic Party. This is how a democrat running in Trump country in the Trump era feels that he needs to approach the electorate with only nineteen days to go in the campaign. I'm gonna play you the whole ad in just a moment, but you're going to hear Donnelly embraced Trump's border wall embraced the military spending increase that Donald Trump oversaw tout his pro-life credentials and slam the quote liberal left. You're going to hear the whole ad, but just remember when I just went through that litany right there, I just want to remind you, Joe Donnelly is a democrat, and this is his latest ad for his reelection campaign. For the most part, I'm an easy going guy, but not when Mike Franchi's lying about my record. I split with my own party. To support funding for Trump sport a wall. The liberal left wants to chop defense spending no way. I'm not into a fair fight. I'm about giving our troops the ad. I voted to extend the Bush tax cuts and Mike Bron. He ships jobs to China. We've got to cut that out. I'm Joe Donnelly are prove this message now, is that going to be the solution? Is that going to be enough? Does he at all? Have concerns that by distancing himself from Democrats at all? Does he depress any of that democratic enthusiasm that exists in Indiana in those base communities? Clearly, his campaign has made the calculation vis needed to get on the air that he still needed to woo over the middle. And some of those wavering Republicans that perhaps they're making the calculation that that democratic base enthusiasm is locked in and that it's not going anywhere. And so they really gotta work in these closing days if he's going to get reelected, those independence, middle of the road Republicans never Trump Republicans to send him back to the United States Senate in the most recent polling. And there's not been a ton of polling in Indiana. I'm hoping we will see. Some more polls come out of Indiana, but at the beginning of October, there was a FOX poll that had Donnelly up two points over Mike Braun, his Republican challenger. There's been some other polling that doesn't meet CNN standards, but this is a margin of error, race and just to once again, get at the math here if indeed Heidi Heitkamp has lost her race already. I'm not sure that she has, but the polls have not look good there. And clearly she had a pretty monumental campaign mistake this week. When her campaign took out a newspaper ad, listing all of these women that they said, were victims of sexual abuse or sexual assault and apparently had done so without seeking permission of the women. And some of those women are not victims of sexual abuse. It was a complete error one with real human costs to what having your name publicly revealed without your permission by political candidate. You know, obviously there are real world reverberations for those women who. Were listed without their permission, which is why Heidi Heitkamp has been personally calling each one of them and apologizing in person to them as best she can. But as she acknowledged, the mistake was made and all she can do is apologize right now. So that was after the no-vote on cavenaugh, which was not wear her state was at all. And after some polling showing that she's in a real world of hurt in trying to get reelected. And then this mistake perhaps compounded that there's a debate in North Dakota night, and perhaps we'll see how high camper Kramer perform where they seem to think the state of the races. But if Heitkamp seat is already lost, Democrats need to then pick up three seats as we've discussed Nevada, Arizona and Tennessee being the three best opportunities on the map for them here in Texas being the longest shot opportunity. But if they were to lose Donnelley in Indiana, then you're talking about needing all four of the states, including here in Texas, Arizona, Nevada, Tennessee, and Texas. Which again is a long shot with a rookie running seven points behind Ted Cruz in the latest c. n. n. pole they would need to sweep all four. If they were losing North Dakota in Indiana and hold everything else, you can't lose Missouri, then you can't lose Montana or West Virginia or Florida. So that becomes a very tricky proposition. Now, like I said, Indiana looks to be a margin of error race right now, I'm not suggesting Joe Donnelly's a lost cause. But these add to me indicates maybe a very smart add. Maybe this is the way he wins, but it clearly indicates that he believes he still needs to win over the toughest voters to win over Republicans who are not naturally aligned with you or Republican leaning independence that you're still trying to convince an Indiana in this Trump era in this tribal politics era to put on a different jersey or at least feel comfortable pulling the lever for the democrat in in two thousand eighteen. It is a monumental challenge and it gets at exactly. Why Mitch McConnell and the NRA see the national Republican senatorial committee came into this cycle with such confidence, no matter what the headwinds were for the party and for Trump the map for the Republicans in the Senate, this cycle has been so advantageous that they felt that the map alone was going to be able to help them withstand any kind of wave barring it become a su- NAMI style way. But obviously, you know, these Senate races are still somewhat moving pieces. We've got nineteen days to go. And as I've said before, I don't think you can say control of the United States Senate is not even up for grabs. I just think it is a huge uphill task for the Democrats and this ad perfectly encapsulates from Donnelly. Just how advantageous the map is for Republicans and the kind of deep Republican turf Democrats are fighting for reelection on that. Does it for this. Of the daily DC. Thank you so much for listening. Hope you'll tune in again right here tomorrow. 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