Senate Minority Leader Democratic Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada, wants his fellow party members to remain on their toes in the upcoming general election. Especially if the opponent is Republican presidential candidate front-runner Donald Trump.
“Never, ever, ever underestimate Trump,” Reid told Politico on March 23. “No one should do that. I tried, others have tried. He’s a hard guy to predict.”
The evidence would suggest that those who underestimate Trump do so at their own peril. Throughout 2015, the GOP establishment watched the business mogul’s popularity in the party primary and believed it was a passing fad. Then Trump began to steamroll the delegate races.
“One of the most unorthodox candidates for the presidency in modern times,” Reid said of Trump’s campaign style, which consists of controversial blurbs, jetting around to stadium-sized rallies and taking to Twitter to slam his opponents.
“A real unusual deal we have here,” Reid said.
Democratic party leaders have a reason to feel complacent if Trump becomes the Republican nominee: The data strongly suggests he would suffer a humiliating defeat against the Democratic presidential front-runner, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
A Bloomberg Politics poll dropped on March 23 projected Clinton would defeat Trump by 18 percentage points. On the same day, Fox News released a poll where Clinton prevailed over Trump by 11 points, The Hill reports.
Note that polling information for general elections is far from an exact science this early in an election year, but the data does not look good for Trump, who seems to appeal to his sizeable chunk of the GOP electorate and barely anyone else.
The GOP establishment has generally tried to distance itself from Trump by supporting Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, but Reid has been persistent in not letting it off the hook.
On March 17, Reid blasted Senate Republicans for refusing to even meet with President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court Justice nominee, Judge Merrick Garland of the D.C. District. Reid tied the Senate Majority Leader Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and his colleagues, to Trump, Vox reports.
“Because of the inaction they sowed, they’re reaping Donald Trump’s candidacy,” Reid said on the Senate floor. “Donald Trump’s style of no-holds-barred politics was forged in the Senate Republican caucus.”
Now Reid has suggested the Republican party is trying to minimize Trump’s electoral chances by deliberately making it harder for people to vote in the Arizona primary on March 22.
“In Arizona last night they just arbitrarily reduced the polling places,” Reid said. “There could be some litigation in that regard. The Arizona race showed me how desperate that Republicans are to do anything they can to suppress turnout.”