I watched the Cubbies kick the Hated Dodgers’ ass last night. Apparently it was not the only show in town.
Donald Trump’s rocky performance on the final debate stage did little to allay his party’s concerns that the GOP is headed for an electoral catastrophe up and down the ticket.
In interviews with over a dozen senior Republican strategists, not one said Trump did anything to change the trajectory of a contest that is growing further out of reach. And many said they were deeply distressed by Trump’s refusal to accept the results of the Nov. 8 election, an eyebrow-raising moment already dominating headlines.
And who, pray tell, are these stalwart party leaders who are feeling suicidal?
Immediately after Trump’s remark, several party higher-ups, including South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham and Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake, took to Twitter to distance themselves from it.
“The biggest loser tonight was not Trump, the presidential race is over,” said Robert Blizzard, a GOP pollster who is working on a number of congressional races.
Steve Schmidt, who guided John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign, said that Trump’s refusal to commit to accepting election results would overshadow any other strong moments he had.
“He made a really huge mistake tonight when he would not commit to 100 percent accepting the results of the election whether he wins or loses,” said Austin Barbour, a Mississippi-based Republican strategist.
“It’s hard to understand,” said Al Cardenas, a former Florida Republican Party chairman.
“This is microcosm of the general election campaign,” said Mike DuHaime, a former Republican National Committee political director who helped to guide Chris Christie’s presidential bid.
“If Trump hopes to change things around, he can’t repeat that act,” said Eric Fehrnstrom, a top strategist on Mitt Romney’s 2012 bid.
“Trump was already behind,” said Bill Kristol, a Trump critic and the editor-in-chief of the conservative publication The Weekly Standard. “He didn’t help himself tonight, indeed he hurt himself. He’s very likely to lose, and to lose badly. He’ll drag the Senate and House down with him unless Senate and House candidates can make the case they’re needed to check and balance Hillary.”
Not a single Trump supporter in the bunch. Several of them are prominent anti-Trump GOPe types.
Here’s another take from Fox News:
At Wednesday night’s debate in Las Vegas, Donald Trump showed us that he does know how to prepare for a debate.
He just should’ve done it sooner.
The evening was by far and away his best performance. Trump hit on all the major themes that his campaign is built upon: economic growth, strong national security, fighting illegal immigration, changing the direction of the country by fighting special interests, corruption and bureaucracy as well as ensuring a Conservative Supreme Court. He had especially good moments in criticizing Clinton’s foreign policy record and her email practices as well as Obama’s failed policies at home and abroad.
And for her part, Clinton was exactly what she needed to be. She was reliable, steady and knowledgeable. She gave strong answers on making the economy work for average Americans and hit him hard on his taxes, foundation and economic plan which would cost America over three million jobs and add trillions to the debt.
She was weak on her response to moderator Chris Wallace’s question on her Goldman Sachs speech wherein she said that she wanted a common market by pivoting to Russian hacking. But then again, at this point, it’s only Trump’s base that really cares about these issues.
The untrustworthy numbers are baked in and Clinton is still leading by six to eight points. And that is unlikely to change.
It follows that we may very well have seen the end of the election on Wednesday night.
Trump needed to expand past his base and he most certainly did not do that. All he did was force Republicans to come out in defense of the democratic system in the coming days. That doesn’t win elections.
So who the hell is Doug Schoen?
Douglas E. Schoen has served as a pollster for President Bill Clinton. He has more than 30 years experience as a pollster and political consultant.
I am really tempted to unplug for the next three weeks.