GOP: Forget Trump, Save the House & Senate

The greatest reality television show in human history is over. The overwhelming majority of data reveals that Hillary Clinton has virtually secured the presidency. The latest polling data from the Real Clear Politics average shows Clinton leading nationally 48.1 percent to Donald Trump’s 41.4 percent: a gap of 6.7 percent. Just one month ago, Trump had gotten within striking distance and was trailing by only one point.

Additionally, the current Real Clear Politics electoral college map has Clinton solidly with 256 Electoral College votes and only 170 for Trump, while 112 votes remain a toss-up. Pennsylvania and Virginia, two crucial states for Trump, both lean in Clinton’s favor. She leads Trump by 6.7 percent in Virginia and 8.4 percent in Pennsylvania. In order to be competitive, Trump would need to secure victories in Florida, North Carolina, and Ohio; Clinton currently leads by about 2-3 percent in all three states. According to New York Times data from The Upshot, Clinton now has an 89 percent chance of winning compared with just 11 percent for Donald Trump. Unless Wikileaks’ Julian Assange releases further incriminating information or she has another major medical episode, we’ll have a President Clinton in January.

Interestingly, Trump has ceased campaign activity in Democratic vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine’s home state of Virginia. Trump’s former Virginia campaign chairman, Corey Stewart, expressed outrage regarding the decision to concede the state: "I think it's totally premature for the campaign to be pulling out of Virginia after so much work and all the hundreds ... of hours of volunteer time and thousands and thousands of volunteers." Historically, Virginia has been a solidly Republican state for every presidential election from the 1970s until the re-election of George W. Bush in 2004. However, changing demographics and urbanization in Northern Virginia have transformed it into a swing state. President Obama won it in 2008, the first time a Democrat won Virginia since Lyndon B. Johnson defeated Barry Goldwater in 1964. Obama went on to win there again in 2012.

Following the release of Trump’s 2005 lewd comments about women, a number of prominent Republicans have withdrawn their support for him. His former primary opponents Carly Fiorina and Governor John Kasich no longer endorse him. Senators John McCain, Kelly Ayotte, Lisa Murkowski, and Rob Portman, and Congressman Jason Chaffetz have all retracted support shortly after the release of the tape. Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice put out a statement expressing utter disgust with Trump: “Enough! Donald Trump should not be President. He should withdraw. As a Republican, I hope to support someone who has the dignity and stature to run for the highest office in the greatest democracy on earth.”

Let’s be practical: it’s time for the Republican National Committee to stop devoting its precious time, money, and resources to Trump’s hopeless campaign. Instead, top GOP officials should direct all resources to maintaining the Senate majority. The Real Clear Politics polling averages indicate that the Democrats and Republicans each have 46 Senate seats that are safe or not up for election, leaving eight toss-ups, seven of them currently held by the Republicans. It appears Republicans will maintain control over the House of Representatives. 218 seats are needed to secure a majority, and the GOP currently has 231 safe seats. There are 15 toss-up seats, 11 currently controlled by Republicans. It’s unlikely the GOP will lose control of the House, but current polling shows that their majority will weaken.

A spokeswoman for House Speaker Paul Ryan recently stated: “The speaker is going to spend the next month focused entirely on protecting our congressional majorities.”  It’s also time for more GOP elected officials to publicly denounce Trump in order to salvage the legitimacy of the party going forward.