Republicans running for Senate in 2016 appear to be preparing for a campaign where Donald Trump is the party’s presidential nominee.
In a recently leaked memo, National Republican Senatorial Committee's executive director Ward Baker says GOP candidates “should prepare for 2016, by understanding the environment and recognizing the Trump phenomenon,” according to CNN.
The seven-page internal memo from the party’s senatorial campaign arm, titled “Observations on Donald Trump and 2016,” was first reported by The Washington Post. The document was reportedly shared with the paper by a “high-ranking Republican who did so on the condition of anonymity because it was not intended to be made public.” The Post confirmed the memo’s authenticity with another top Republican.
“Trump has risen because voters see him as authentic, independent, direct, firm, --- and believe he can't be bought,” Baker writes. “These are the same character traits our candidates should be advancing in 2016. That's Trump lesson #1.”
“Let's face facts,” he says. “Trump says what's on his mind and that's a problem. Our candidates will have to spend full time defending him or condemning him if that continues.”
The possibility of Trump as nominee has been on the minds of many in recent weeks as the billionaire real estate developer has persisted at the top of polls.
A national poll from Quinnipiac University, released earlier this week, shows Trump still on top with 27 percent support. Behind Trump, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, came in with only 17 percent, while former neurosurgeon Ben Carson, who had been pulling even with Trump in many polls, came in third with 16 percent, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
“The Doctor sinks. The Donald soars. The GOP, 11 months from the election, has to be thinking, ‘This could be the guy,” said Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac poll, after the recent numbers were released.
Malloy said it seemed as though Trump could do no wrong.
“It doesn’t seem to matter what he says or who he offends, whether the facts are contested or the ‘political correctness’ is challenged,” Malloy said. “Donald Trump seems to be wearing Kevlar.”
Trump, as CNN points out, has made plenty of controversial statements concerning immigrants, Muslims and even women.
“Houston, we have a problem: Donald Trump has said some wacky things about women,” Baker’s memo reads. “Candidates shouldn't go near this ground other than to say that your wife or daughter is offended by what Trump said. We do not want to re-engage the 'war on women' fight so isolate Trump on this issue by offering a quick condemnation of it.”
Baker refers to Trump as a “misguided missile” and urges senate candidates not to "get drawn into every Trump statement and every Trump dust-up.”
The memo, according to CNN, appears to be one of many such documents meant to prepare senate candidates for the likelihood of running with different nominees.
National Republican Senatorial Committee spokeswoman Andrea Bozek told CNN, “It would be malpractice for the senatorial committee not to prepare our candidates for every possible Republican and Democrat nominee and election scenario.”
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