Believe it or not, the 2018 election is only months away. And while talking heads and media elites focus exclusively on Republican election challenges, the electoral map is chock-full of vulnerable Democratic candidates running in Trump territory. Here are the top Democrats poised for 2018 defeat:
Sen. Claire McCaskill (Democrat, Missouri)
The definition of a corrupt career politician, Sen. McCaskill is a personification of the Washington swamp and the Democratic Party’s most vulnerable incumbent. Who can forget her failure to pay $287,000 in property taxes on a private plane? Or using $40 million in government subsidies to boost her husband’s real estate business?
Even her fellow Democrats have referred to Sen. McCaskill as “corrupt,” making her a boon to opposition researchers.
And it’s taken on a toll on her approval ratings in Missouri. Only 42 percent of Missourians approve of Sen. McCaskill, after she was first elected to the Senate with only 54 percent of the vote against a weakened Todd Akin. (Akin infamously coined the phrase “legitimate rape,” which the mainstream media ruthlessly leveraged to delegitimize him.)
Her blind “resistance” against President Trump, who won Missouri by a whopping 18.5 percent (over 500,000 votes) in 2016, only makes matters worse. Sen. McCaskill has voted against the president nearly 60 percent of the time, giving Republicans very clear attack lines to defeat her in 2018.
Sen. Bill Nelson (Democrat, Florida)
Poor Bill Nelson. Reelection was always going to be an uphill battle in a state that President Trump won by roughly 120,000 votes, and former Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s (R-FL) likely entrance into the race only makes the hill steeper.
The Democratic establishment has reportedly been “concerned” about Sen. Nelson’s prospects from the start, and Scott’s favorability gives them every reason to be. Even though he hasn’t formally announced his candidacy, the Florida governor already leads Sen. Nelson in a head-to-head matchup.
The two couldn’t be more different. Whereas Sen. Nelson was the deciding vote for the Obamacare disaster and votes with President Trump even less often than Sen. McCaskill (37 percent of the time), Scott was one of the president’s most loyal supporters on the 2016 campaign trail. Two years ago, he praised President Trump for being “laser-focused on job creation.” Scott even chaired a pro-Trump super PAC, while Sen. Nelson voted against pro-worker tax cuts and long-overdue healthcare reform.
Furthermore, while Scott can self-fund his own campaign, Sen. Nelson will need to shake down special interests to compete in what will be the most expensive 2018 Senate race. Also working in Scott’s favor is President Trump’s firm endorsement of his 2018 Senate run. The president’s 4.6 million Florida supporters won’t forget it.
Former Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen (Democrat, Tennessee)
Democrats are giddy about their recruitment of Bredesen to replace retiring Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN), but early polling and electoral precedent suggest their giddiness will be replaced with gloom.
Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) is off to a tremendous start. In the last quarter of 2017, Rep. Marsha Blackburn’s (R-TN) Senate campaign raised $2 million, leaving her with $4.6 million in cash on hand. (Her Republican challenger, David Fincher, also raised an eye-popping $1 million.)
While either Republican will likely beat Bredesen, Rep. Blackburn appears to be favorably positioned in the polls. Not only does she boast a commanding 58 percent to 11 percent lead over the closest Republican challenger, but Rep. Blackburn also maintains a nearly 10-point lead over Bredesen.
Why? Because she keeps her promises as a pro-Trump conservative in a pro-Trump state. President Trump won Tennessee by a crushing 26 points. From tax cuts to Obamacare repeal and gun rights, Rep. Blackburn has voted with the president more than 93 percent of the time.
Bredesen, on the other hand, is just another messenger for the Obama agenda in a state that has embraced President Trump. He has consistently opposed Second Amendment protections and even authored a plan to give illegal immigrants driving certificates. Such policies will be tough sells in a state where 92 out of 95 counties went for President Trump.
While the liberal media runs anti-Trump propaganda and Republican vulnerability stories on a loop, Republicans are setting their sights on vulnerable Democrats running in Trump country. Thanks to the president, Republicans will have a vibrant economy, lower illegal immigration, and retreating ISIS to campaign on. It’s a losing recipe for Democrats.
Guy Short (@Shortguy1) is a former congressional chief of staff, six-time Republican National Convention delegate, and Republican strategist with over 25 years of experience in politics.
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.