by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
So: Is Trump doing more to help or hurt Republican candidates this fall? It’s complicated.
Trump’s double-edged sword isn’t just cutting through Texas. The president’s relatively low approval ratings have imperiled Republican incumbents across the country as well as the party’s congressional majorities, particularly in the House. The Resistance is strong among white, affluent, college-educated suburbanites, especially women.
Yet Trump has embarked on a busy campaign schedule in the final weeks before the pivotal midterm elections, which are widely seen as a referendum on his tumultuous presidency. He holds his patented “Make America Great Again” rallies up to four nights a week. He remains in high demand among candidates seeking to shore up their standing with the Republican base.
“President Trump has an unparalleled ability to energize supporters,” said Republican National Committee spokesman Steve Guest. “His rallies not only help bring in new volunteers to the Republican Party, he also mobilizes Republican support unlike anyone else.”
“Midterm elections are all about turnout, and nobody is better at turning out Republicans these days than Trump,” said Alex Conant, a GOP strategist and former communications adviser to Marco Rubio. “The president can be very helpful in red states where we need strong Republican turnout to neutralize high Democratic enthusiasm.”
The president certainly thinks so. “I don’t believe anybody’s ever had this kind of impact,” Trump boasted of the help he has given Republican candidates in an interview with the Associated Press.
Democrats say they aren’t worried.