As Cortney covered yesterday, former fighter pilot Amy McGrath has jumped into the 2020 Kentucky Senate race to challenge Mitch McConnell. She lost a tight race in the state's swingy Sixth Congressional District last year, failing to capitalize on the national blue wave, despite flexing impressive fundraising prowess en route to vastly outspending her opponent. If she couldn't win a House seat in a fairly competitive district, in a favorable year, what are her chances statewide in a presidential cycle? Keep in mind that Donald Trump won Kentucky by a cool 30 points in 2016. Let's just say that her odds are long, especially when one recalls that the last time Democrats landed a prized, young, female recruit to run against McConnell, she raised a ton of money, looked promising in some polls...then lost by 15 points.
McGrath made the media rounds yesterday, drawing mostly favorable interviews from journalists who loathe McConnell just as much as any other rank-and-file Democratic activists. But Team Mitch was prepared to "welcome" her to the race in their own special way, rolling out a montage of McGrath, in her own words. As you watch this, try to remember that she's running in Kentucky, not California:
(1) McGarth boasts that she's further to the left, and more 'progressive' than anyone in the state.
(2) She calls President Trump's proposed border wall "stupid," saying of at least some illegal immigrants, "let's bring them in."
(3) She praises single-payer healthcare, which would outlaw private insurance, as the proper or ideal blueprint for the America.
(4) She affirms her stance that the government has no role in limiting abortion whatsoever, even sticking to the deeply unpopular (nationally, let alone in Kentucky) view even in the scenario of an elective abortion on the child's day of birth.
(5) A Democrat tied into the national party's brand is a nonstarter in a deep red conservative state. McGrath quote: "I don't know that I'm different from the Democratic Party, national."
(6) Perhaps most shockingly, McGrath compares her personal reaction to the election of Donald Trump to how she felt in the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, in which nearly 3,000 Americans were slaughtered: "The only feeling I can describe that was anything close to [Trump's victory] was the feeling I had after 9/11." Even to many Trump-skeptical, or even Trump-hostile Americans, this is sounds deranged.
Her response to pushback against that egregious comparison from CNN's Jake Tapper was cringeworthy and totally unconvincing, particularly in light of the other comments ('sucker punch,' etc.) she made just before the 9/11 capper (and stick around to the very end of this clip):
Oof. Nationally, Republicans are hoping that in their zeal to "Ditch Mitch," Democrats will pour insane amounts of money and resources into a race that will end -- at best -- in Beto-esque fashion. McConnell has never been terribly popular, yet he consistently racks up comfortable wins, experiencing his closest shave (a six-point victory) in the Obama wave year of 2008. GOP operatives also couldn't help but notice that a hit piece from NBC News about McConnell's great great grandparents dropped literally the night before McGrath formally announced her candidacy and appeared on MSNBC, with several NBC personalities promoting her announcement video. As for the "substance" of that story about slave ownership and reparations, McConnell's response was perfect, in case you missed it:
Fact Check: True, on both counts -- with a bonus example of Kamala Harris, according to her father. I'll leave you with a key figure in McConnell world reacting to NBC's McGrath rollout, coupled with the slavery headline:
BTW - that absurd NBC story makes much more sense this morning after the McGrath red carpet and website plugging on morning joe. https://t.co/QC7SS6xm5Q— Josh Holmes (@HolmesJosh) July 9, 2019
And here's a left-leaning elections guru explaining just how steep a climb McGrath faces next fall:
Having covered her impressive ‘18 performance in a red district, I mean this in all seriousness: Amy McGrath would actually have a better chance at the presidency in ‘20 than #KYSEN.— Dave Wasserman (@Redistrict) July 9, 2019