Friday, May 6, 2016

McSally Not Yet #ReadyForTrump

Posted By on Fri, May 6, 2016 at 3:22 PM

click to enlarge U.S. Rep. Martha McSally (R-CD2) says it could take some time to size up whether Donald Trump is worthy of her support: "I’ll spend the next six months if needed, watching closely, learning more about him and determining what kind of man he is before I decide whether to give him my vote." - JESSE WEBSTER
  • Jesse Webster
  • U.S. Rep. Martha McSally (R-CD2) says it could take some time to size up whether Donald Trump is worthy of her support: "I’ll spend the next six months if needed, watching closely, learning more about him and determining what kind of man he is before I decide whether to give him my vote."
Democrats have been pressing Rep. Martha McSally (R-CD2) on whether she supports Donald Trump at the GOP's presidential nominee.

McSally has sidestepped the question, no doubt hoping like many Republicans (and especially GOP candidates) that Trump would falter before winning the nomination. But Trump essentially clinched the nomination this week amidst rumors that McSally would be an ideal choice to join him on the ticket as VP.

After the Weekly asked if McSally would be interested in a VP slot, she said via email that she's "still trying to make sense of it all" and she needs to give him a closer look before deciding if she can vote for him. McSally's statement:

I just returned from Afghanistan to the recent political news and like many Republicans, am still trying to make sense of it all. We’re in unchartered waters with two presumptive nominees who are viewed unfavorably by the majority of Americans. More specifically I have concerns about statements Mr. Trump has made regarding women, but I also respect the will of the voters.

So I’ll spend the next six months if needed, watching closely, learning more about him and determining what kind of man he is before I decide whether to give him my vote.

We have serious issues ahead of us and I hope this election becomes more about a battle of ideas and solutions while making the case for who should be the next Commander in Chief in a dangerous world.

Southern Arizonans elected me to do a job representing them, not because of my affiliation with any past or future presidential candidate, and I am all-in on doing that job. I have spent my whole life defying stereotypes and labeling and I'm going to continue to be that independent voice for Southern Arizonans regardless of who wins the White House.
it's not surprising that McSally, a cautious politician in a swing district, would be reluctant to embrace Trump. He remains a total wild card, but most polling at this point shows that he's incredible unpopular, especially among women and people of color.

That has many Republicans trying to figure out whether to embrace Trump, go with #NeverTrump route or just reserve the chance to see how it goes before making a commitment, as Speaker of the House Paul Ryan did earlier this week. McSally is going the Ryan route and saying the Trump will have to earn her vote. (Don't know how that affects her chances for ending up Trump's VP, which she didn't address in her statement to the Weekly, but it seems unlikely that she'd sign on to that kamikaze mission.)

Jonathan Chait as NY mag sums up the problem for downticket races with Trump as nominee:


The down-ballot issue is itself a kind of collective action problem. If Trump suffers a wipeout, he is likely to sink Republicans in other races. The key to avoiding a wipeout is to normalize Trump — send the message that he is a regular Republican in good standing who will carry out normal Republican policies, not a dangerous, ignorant, bigoted, pathologically dishonest freak. That message (if successful) could coax enough Republicans to the polls to support him to lift him into the upper-40s, a result that would (at least) protect the Republican House majority.

But the incentive for individual Republicans in vulnerable districts is different. They need to distance themselves from their party’s presidential nominee. The more Republican candidates reject Trump, though, the more voters get the message that Trump is not a respectable candidate, dragging down his support everywhere else. The best thing for any individual candidate on the ballot is to be the one Republican who opposes Trump. The best thing for all of the Republican candidates is for the party to stand behind him.

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