The Note: GOP gets Trumpier in Kavanaugh’s wake

PHOTO: President Donald Trump addresses the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) annual convention at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Fla., Oct. 8, 2018.


The TAKE with Rick Klein

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If Brett Kavanaugh helped Republicans find their voice, that voice belongs — once again — to President Donald Trump.

With four “Make America Great Again” rallies this week alone, Trump will be shaping the direction of his party and its candidates more explicitly than usual in the days to come. And with Kavanaugh now seated on the Supreme Court, Trump is likely to become a larger piece of the midterm story.

The battle that concluded with a Trump victory photo-op Monday night brought Republican Party messaging and organizing even closer to the president, who wound up finding a comfort zone in a divisive and ugly fight.

Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images
President Donald Trump addresses the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) annual convention at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Fla., Oct. 8, 2018.

Trump is describing downright scary stakes — Republicans vs. a “mob” of Democrats, including some he’s calling “evil.” He went from finding Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony “credible” to calling the allegations against Kavanaugh “a hoax” and “all made up.”

“Kavanaugh” is now a MAGA-ready chant, and GOP Senate candidates are going on offense against Democrats’ efforts to block him — even drumming up the far-fetched possibility of impeachment. Trump predicted that as part of the fallout, “a lot of Democrats are going to vote Republican.”

That’s not the ballgame, as Republican operatives and the White House political operation know. This will be a base-motivating election, and Trump and his party are more comfortable than they’ve been in some time — and also more closely aligned.

The RUNDOWN with John Verhovek

Just 28 days out from the midterm election, there’s a clear sense from Democrats that the political aftermath of Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court is not a time to wallow in defeat, but another opportunity to tap into the deep well of frustration it generated among many in its already-energized base.

In deep blue and swing states alike there’s a concerted effort not just to regroup but to capitalize, even as the Republican leaders of both the House and Senate say the Kavanaugh fight has fired up a GOP base in a way they didn’t anticipate.

In that rallying cry, part of the party’s steady drumbeat to boost turnout ahead of the midterms, the 2020 rumblings are hard to ignore.

PHOTO: U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris speaks to protesters rallying against Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh on Capitol Hill, Oct. 4, 2018, in Washington, D.C.Drew Angerer/Getty Images
U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris speaks to protesters rallying against Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh on Capitol Hill, Oct. 4, 2018, in Washington, D.C.

“Take your anger with you to the voting booth,” Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., who heads to Georgia Tuesday to campaign with rising Democratic star and gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, urged her supporters.

“There are 29 more days until Election Day. That’s 29 days to do what we need to do to have the right people in office and kick the wrong people out,” California Sen. Kamala Harris, who campaigned for Democrats in Ohio over the weekend, tweeted on Monday.

It’s a strategy that may be paying dividends as we head to the crucial final sprint to November.

In the wake of the Kavanaugh hearings last month the Democratic National Committee had one of its best 72-hour fundraising periods ever, raising over $1.5 million online, an official with the group told ABC News.

The TIP with Jeffrey Cook

Georgia’s Democratic gubernatorial nominee Stacey Abrams seems to be doubling down on her unapologetically liberal vision for Georgia on Tuesday, as two of the party’s stars make their way to the Peach State to stump for what would be a major upset over Republican State Secretary of State Brian Kemp.

Elizabeth Warren and insurgent Democratic Boston City Councilor Ayanna Pressley, who upset Rep. Michael Capuano in the Massachusetts 7th Congressional District primary in September, with her for a rally in Atlanta. The event represents a radical shift for the Abrams campaign which previously avoided being pegged to socialist icons in the national party, particularly given the crossover-appeal she’ll require as she aims for a Election Night majority to avoid a runoff.

Meanwhile, Warren, whose eyes appear fixed on the White House in two years, gets to test her message in a state Democrats hope is in play for their 2020 push.

PHOTO: Stacey Abrams, Candidate for Governor in the state of Georgia, delivers a speech during a fundraiser in Manhattan, Sept. 24, 2018.Amr Alfiky/Reuters
Stacey Abrams, Candidate for Governor in the state of Georgia, delivers a speech during a fundraiser in Manhattan, Sept. 24, 2018.

THE PLAYLIST

ABC News’ “Start Here” Podcast. Tuesday morning’s episode features ABC News Supreme Court contributor Kate Shaw, who tells us about some of the cases new justice Brett Kavanaugh will begin hearing now that he’s been sworn in. And, ABC News Chief White House Jonathan Karl updates us on the latest “will he or won’t he” moment between Trump and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. http://apple.co/sHPocUL

Debuting today: “The Big Vote” on ABC News Live. Our weekly politics special counting down to the 2018 midterms takes a closer look at the battle to control Congress and what’s at stake for you — the issues, the numbers and the people driving this election. “The Big Vote” airs at 4:30 p.m. ET (re-airs at 8:30 p.m. ET) on all ABC News digital platforms, including the ABC News app, Roku and Apple TV. https://abcnews.go.com/live

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW TODAY

  • President Trump holds a “Make America Great Again” rally in Council Bluffs, Iowa, at 7:30 p.m. ET. Council Bluffs is in Iowa’s 3rd Congressional District, where Republican Rep. David Young is facing a strong challenge from Democrat Cindy Axne. 538 currently rates the matchup a “toss-up,” giving Axne a 5 in 9 chance of unseating Young.
  • Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., attends a rally with Georgia Democratic gubernatorial nominee Stacey Abrams at 10 a.m. ET. Abrams is aiming to become the first black female governor in U.S. history.
  • Former Republican presidential nominee and Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney debates Democratic Salt Lake County Council member Jenny Wilson in Utah’s first U.S. Senate debate at 8 p.m. ET. Though Romney is the strong favorite in the election, he has been dogged by criticism labeling him a “carpetbagger” after living in Utah only intermittently in recent decades.
  • Gubernatorial debates take place in a number of states across the country: Popular Massachusetts Republican Gov. Charlie Baker faces Democrat Jay Gonzales at 8 p.m. ET, Republican Bill Lee and Democrat Karl Dean duel in Tennessee at 7 p.m. ET, and Oregon Gov. Kate Brown and her GOP challenger Knute Buehler debate at 10 p.m. ET.
  • Early voting begins in New Mexico where Reps. Michelle Lujan Grisham and Steve Pearce are locked in a battle for the governor’s office and Democrats are eyeing a flip of the open 2nd Congressional District.
  • The Note has a new look! Download the ABC News app and select “The Note” as an item of interest to receive the day’s sharpest political analysis.

    The Note is a daily ABC News feature that highlights political analysis of the day ahead. Please check back tomorrow for the latest.





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