Conner Eldridge, the Democratic Senate candidate from Arkansas, was out early in what is now a broad move by Democratic candidates for U.S. Senate to tie Donald Trump — and particularly his ugly remarks about women — to Republican opponents.
I wrote Monday about Eldridge's TV ad quoting Trump and calling on Republican incumbent Sen. John Boozman to repudiate Trump's misogynistic remarks. Boozman had previously said he'd support Trump as the nominee. He has not responded to my or any other calls for comment about the Eldridge advertising.
With Trump at the top of the ticket in November, close Senate races could become even tougher for Republicans, and the real estate mogul's candidacy could put additional states into play, like Arizona and Iowa.
Former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland's (D) campaign on Tuesday night issued a short statement taunting incumbent Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) over the prospect of running with Trump at the top of the ticket.
"Here are the 5 words that are striking fear into Senator Rob Portman: presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump," Strickland spokesman David Bergstein said in a statement.
Eldridge pressed Boozman again today:
"The fact that Boozman won’t stand up and speak out on this issue is one of the many reasons I am running for the U.S. Senate. This issue is not a matter of Left vs. Right. It’s about Right vs. Wrong. Who has the integrity and the independence to do what’s right for Arkansas and America? John Boozman is failing that test. Conner Eldridge will continue to do the right thing.”
I wrote a column for the print edition of the Times this week on the likelihood of Eldridge's tactic appearing elsewhere.
Here's what I wrote:
Trump: The Obama of 2016?
Conner Eldridge, the Democratic challenger to incumbent Republican U.S. Sen. John Boozman, launched an assault on Boozman Monday morning rich with irony and opportunity.
In short, he wants to hang Donald Trump on John Boozman, just as every Republican candidate from U.S. Senate to Big Rock constable has hung Barack Obama on Democratic opponents for eight years now.
Boozman isn’t black. He doesn’t have a Kenyan father. He lacks an exploitable middle name. But he also lacks a high public profile. He also has been dodging an explanation for how he can both repeal Obamacare and support Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s Arkansas Works program that relies on Obamacare billions to insure working poor and also prop up the state budget.
And then there’s Trump. Asked if he’d support the Republican nominee – increasingly likely to be Donald Trump – Boozman told the Associated Press Managing Editors convention last weekend: “...., I will support our nominee. Anybody is going to be better than Hillary or Bernie."
That means even Donald Trump. Eldridge jumped into the opening with an ad made for Facebook distribution that compiles some of the worst things Donald Trump has said about women in a boorish career unrivaled on the U.S. political stage by a serious national candidate. Eldridge called it “lurid and harassing” language. The video speaks for itself, with Trump cracks about boobs and women on their knees. It also includes audio of Boozman’s implicit endorsement of Trump.
A senator should condemn such language, Eldridge said.
“Instead,” Eldridge continued, “Senator Boozman is an enabler of Donald Trump’s reprehensible conduct. For John Boozman to unequivocally state that he would support Donald Trump for President speaks volumes about Senator Boozman’s willingness to put political parties and partisan politics ahead of common decency toward women.”
“As a U.S. Senator, John Boozman is rarely seen in Arkansas. And now his judgment and humanity have gone missing, too. One cannot look at this collection of statements by Donald Trump and not be appalled. But it would appear Senator Boozman is the exception to the rule.”
If the November election does match Trump against Democrat Hillary Clinton, there will be a gender gap. Women will favor Clinton and not only on account of Trump’s sexism. But there’s still the question of the male gender gap. In Southern climes, Trump likely will enjoy a male gap – in part for talk of women supplicating themselves to men. There are even some women in the Bible Belt who endorse that kind of talk.
Regional differences aside, running against Trump is easier for Eldridge than running against a mushy candidate whose name is unfamiliar to many voters. Boozman is hard to defend on his record, but he’s also hard to attack. There’s just not much there there.
Trump is another matter. He will revel in being at the center of every race on the ballot. Other Republicans might not feel so confident about the association with him.
If gender differences don’t help Clinton against Trump, his unrelenting coarseness will. She’s not a candidate viewed sympathetically by many, but Trump tirades could inspire a backlash. The negative of partisan association with Trump could prove a useful tool for many other Democratic candidates, particularly outside the South.
Instead of mailboxes stuffed with black men in surgical scrubs to illustrate the evils of the Democratic presidential candidate, we might just get a glossy card with a photo of an orange-haired reality show actor spouting misogyny.
There is almost nothing real about "reality TV." All but the dullest viewers understand that the dramatic twists and turns on shows like "The Bachelor" or "Celebrity Apprentice" are scripted in advance. More or less like professional wrestling, Donald Trump's previous claim to fame. /more/
Dave Wasserman of the Cook Political Report has the latest numbers: Hillary Clinton's lead in the popular vote is now 2.7 million, giving her a 2 point advantage over Donald Trump (for all the good that does!). /more/
North Carolina voted for Donald Trump but rejected a Republican incumbent governor. Why? It's yet another question to add to the ongoing debate on the left about where to place the blame for the debacle that was the 2016 election. /more/
Amid the climate of disbelief and fear among Democrats following Donald Trump's election, a fascinating debate has broken out about what's called "identity politics" on the left, "political correctness" by the right. /more/
Donald Trump, the president-elect of the United States, this morning made a public statement, via Twitter, that the flag burning should be disallowed by law: "there must be consequences — perhaps loss of citizenship or year in jail!" /more/
On Donald Trump's itchy Twitter finger: Of course his public statements are newsworthy. Trump's willingness to use the power of the bully pulpit in irresponsible ways is itself a story that bodes ominously for the nation he's been elected to serve. /more/
Not that it will do much good, but Times columnist Ernest Dumas this week provides some useful Founding Father history, plus a little bit of Bible, for how wrong-headed Mike Huckabee, Asa Hutchinson, the Republican legislature and others are in using government to enforce their religious views.
John Walker, the 79-year-old civil rights lawyer, and his associate, Omavi Shukur, 29, a young lawyer devoted to criminal justice reform, talked to press this afternoon about their arrests Monday by Little Rock police for supposedly obstructing governmental operations in observing and attempting to film a routine police traffic stop. It was a tutorial on sharp views of race, class and governance in Little Rock.
Next week a series of meetings on the use of technology to tackle global problems will be held in Little Rock by Club de Madrid — a coalition of more than 100 former democratic former presidents and prime ministers from around the world — and the P80 Group, a coalition of large public pension and sovereign wealth funds founded by Prince Charles to combat climate change. The conference will discuss deploying existing technologies to increase access to food, water, energy, clean environment, and medical care.
So fed up was young Edgar Welch of Salisbury, N.C., that Hillary Clinton was getting away with running a child-sex ring that he grabbed a couple of guns last Sunday, drove 360 miles to the Comet Ping Pong pizzeria in Washington, D.C., where Clinton was supposed to be holding the kids as sex slaves, and fired his AR-15 into the floor to clear the joint of pizza cravers and conduct his own investigation of the pedophilia syndicate of the former first lady, U.S. senator and secretary of state.
There is almost nothing real about "reality TV." All but the dullest viewers understand that the dramatic twists and turns on shows like "The Bachelor" or "Celebrity Apprentice" are scripted in advance. More or less like professional wrestling, Donald Trump's previous claim to fame.