If you're wondering why Donald Trump wanted a coronavirus relief bill, then didn't, then wanted it again, and now reportedly doesn't, at least part of your answer falls on the shoulders of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
From Walter Reed last weekend, Trump had been pushing stimulus talks, tweeting: "GET IT DONE." Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell has said a relief deal is essential to save the economy. And even several vulnerable Senate Republicans have been clamoring for a deal as they realize rushing to confirm a conservative Supreme Court justice while abandoning struggling Americans and dooming the economy isn't a good reelection look.
Let's give Republicans the heave-ho and restore sanity to the U.S. Senate. Give $2 right now to give McConnell the boot.
But McConnell? Nope. He's perfectly content to torch the economy and destroy his caucus on the way to cementing a 6-3 right-wing majority on the court.
This can only mean one thing: McConnell knows he's gonna lose his majority. McConnell is a terrible legislator and a horrid public servant, but he's no slouch when it comes to reading election data. And short of a Putin-engineered coup, Republicans are heading for epic losses up and down the ticket. Several national polls have now found Trump is running a solid double-digit deficit against Joe Biden, including Trump's favorite pollster—even Rasmussen has Trump down by 12 points nationally, 40-52%. But don't take Rasmussen's word for it—The New York Times declared Tuesday the "worst day of polling for Trump this cycle."
But beyond the national polls is the state polling, particularly the ones with vulnerable Senate Republicans. Based on current trends, FiveThirtyEight now finds that Democrats win the Senate in 67 of 100 scenarios. It's still not entirely clear how Trump's coronavirus-positive diagnosis will shake out in the Senate races, but indications so far suggest it won't work to the GOP's advantage and, in fact, frames their urgency to confirm Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court as more reckless than ever.
Again, the national polling appears to suggest Trump's diagnosis has been a huge drag on his reelection bid, and state polling done in the wake of Trump's disclosure points to a similar conclusion. Civiqs surveys conducted Saturday-Tuesday, for instance, found both Senate races in Iowa and Texas to be very tight, giving Iowa Democrat Theresa Greenfield a three-point edge over GOP Sen. Joni Ernst and showing Texas Democrat MJ Hegar trailing GOP Sen. John Cornyn by just one point. And those are both races that weren't even a twinkle in Democrats' eyes at the beginning of this cycle.
But perhaps even more telling than the steady stream of bad public polling for Republicans is the fact that McConnell isn't acting like a man who thinks his caucus can pull this one out. Rather, he's essentially declared that everyone is on their own as he sets his sights on the singular goal of ramming through Barrett's confirmation.
Perhaps McConnell still hopes a 6-3 conservative majority could somehow help Republicans snatch victory from the jaws of defeat if there’s a role for the high court to play. But he is nonetheless behaving like a man who's got one last shot at cementing his legacy and he'll burn it all down to achieve that goal. Sorry, vulnerable Republicans, best of luck in your future endeavors. And sorry, America—no soup for you.