WASHINGTON — Donald Trump may have blazed through the March 15 primaries capturing four states, but he is a “straightjacket that Senate Republicans won’t be able to wiggle off,” said Sen. Chuck Schumer Wednesday during a press conference at the Democratic National Committee.
Trump added 34 more delegates when he captured Illinois, Missouri, Florida and North Carolina on Tuesday night to a total of 691. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., who had the more endorsements, dropped out after a loss in Florida, his home state. Trump barely edged Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, in Missouri where a recount is possible.
“This is a frightening, grotesque and disturbing development in American politics,” Rubio said on Tuesday night during his dropout speech. “I still at this moment continue to intend to support the Republican nominee, but it’s getting harder every day.”
Schumer, D-N.Y., predicted that Trump – if he wins the Republican nomination – will be trounced in the General Election and will take lots of GOP candidates down with him.
The New York real estate mogul’s hard-line stand on immigration and harsh rhetoric on Islam candidacy could increase the chance of Democrats winning more seats in congressional districts and in the Senate, according to Schumer, who is in line to become Democratic leader in the Senate next year. D-N.Y.
“Donald Trump won’t make America great again but he will make the Republicans the minority again,” he said.
However, Democrats already stand a good chance regardless of a Trump nomination — Democrats are defending 10 seats, whereas Republicans stand to lose 24. Seven of those Republican seats are in districts that went Obama in 2012 can be easily captured by Democrats in this cycle.
Congressional districts that seemed out of reach for Democratic candidates now seem winnable because Trump-style politics will turn off voters, said Rep. Ben Ray Luján D-N.M.
Rep. Carlos Curbelo R-Fla., a Latino moderate, will “wear Donald Trump’s candidacy around his neck like an albatross” when running for re-election for 2016, said Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee.
On a larger scale, swing states and those which are historically red might turn blue thanks to a Trump nomination, said Michael Cornfield, a political scientist and professor at George Washington University. Most political scientists agree that there is very little ticket splitting when it comes to smaller ballots too, he said.
“It’s possible if you just count the number of groups that Trump has offended. Women, Hispanics, African American…just to name three groups that Trump has offended,” Cornfield said.
Trump has a high disapproval rating among Hispanics, according to a Gallup poll — likely due in part to his characterization of some Mexican immigrants as drug traffickers and rapists. Trump could alienate more red states in the campaign cycle, because there is a “shift toward a nation in which no group is the majority”, according to demographer William Frey of the Brookings Institution, from his book “Diversity Explosion.”
A fractured GOP could result in a contested convention where the Establishment will try to nominate a “hero” to oust Trump’s nomination, Cornfield said. In this six-week convention, delegate voters are “released” from their pledged candidate and can switch loyalties to another.
It’s hard for Kasich, who’s short more than 500 delegates to Trump, to mathematically win enough of them to secure the ticket. His refusal to drop out is probably strategic: stealing enough delegates from Trump that he won’t make the 1,237 delegates required to lock up the nomination.
“This hero could be very well be Kasich, or another candidate,” Cornfield said.
The tea party movement, which surged in 2010, set stage for rise of Trump with harsh rhetoric and divisive campaigns, said Schultz.
“The Republicans created their own Frankenstein,” Lujan said. “The Tea Party was bred by anger and hateful sentiments that divided our country, and that movement then fed further conspiracies, xenophobia, anti-immigration rhetoric, violence misogyny that Trump stands for.”