Republicans need to figure out 'are you with Trump or not,' former campaign adviser says
Joe Trippi is starting to see the handwriting on the wall heading into the 2018 midterm elections.
“If you go back historically, both New Jersey and Virginia go for the opposite party in the White House,” Trippi, former campaign manager for former Vermont governor Howard Dean, said of races for governor recently won by Democrats during his Nov. 8 on the "Chicago's Morning Answer" radio show. “But you see what happened in New Hampshire and Washington state and other places, and yeah it starts to look like there is a real problem with Republicans being able to unify.”
Trippi said the way he sees it, Republicans on the ballot next year have only one course of action.
“Going in 2018, they have to figure that out, are you with Trump or not,” he said during the interview. “(Virginia candidate for governor Ed) Gillespie tried to straddle. If they don’t figure that out, 2018 is likely not to be a good year for Republicans.”
Trippi said Dems can only hope the overwhelming number of GOP candidates on the ballot decide to align themselves with the president.
“I think the great unifier after having some tough primary fights is Donald Trump,” he said on the show.
Given that, Trippi said he isn’t nearly as concerned about inner-squabbles within the party that might otherwise play to its detriment.
“There is real consternation about what happened in part in 2016,” he told Chicago Morning Answer. “The financial straits the party was in and way (Hillary) Clinton had to bail them out is real.”
Some of those old wounds were recently opened anew when longtime Democratic power broker Donna Brazile penned a novel that in some ways was critical of the party and the way it handled ultimately advancing Clinton as the party’s official nominee for president over Bernie Sanders.
“In terms of voters, I don’t think they care about the Donna Brazile stuff,” Trippi said of the way the party came together in Virginia, New Jersey and other places to coast to victory.
“What happened sort of shows that,” he said on the show. “I don’t think anyone stayed home because Donna Brazile wrote a book. I think what we saw was that the Democratic Party has less trouble pulling back together after a big fight.”
Fresh off their win in Virginia, Dems are now aggressively eying other longtime deep South Republican strongholds, namely in Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, South, Tennessee, North Carolina and Mississippi.
"Clearly what’s happening right now is not just that there’s more energy with Democrats, it’s that independents are moving in the direction of the Democratic Party,” Trippi recently told Politico.
Soon after the final votes in the Virginia and New Jersey governor’s races were counted, the majority of voters in both states told Politico “Trump was a reason for their vote,” the publication said Nov. 8.
In addition, most voters added they made their choice as way of opposing Trump, rather than supporting him.
In Virginia, exit polls also found Trump’s approval rating was at just 40 percent and of the 57 percent of voters who disapproved of his job performance, 87 percent of them cast their vote for Democrat Ralph Northam, Politico reported.
Dan Proft, one of the hosts of "Chicago's Morning Answer," is a principal in Local Government Information Services, which owns this publication.