Rand Paul: If the Clintons are so popular, why'd all of their battleground candidates get smoked?

Eventually the gloating over this election will end. But it won’t end today. And it won’t end because of me.

From Paul’s Facebook page:


The hashtag is a nice snotty touch. Is it fair to lay this landslide at the Clintons’ feet, though? Well, arguably … yeah, to some extent. Here’s a tidbit that caught my eye from WaPo’s panoramic postmortem of the race. (Read it, seriously, and not just for the Democratic fingerpointing. GOP wise men insist that had Chris McDaniel beaten Thad Cochran in the primary, he would have dragged the whole party down last night.) With the toxic Obama AWOL during the campaign, another Democratic president stepped up:

With Obama largely benched, Democrats leaned heavily on the Clintons to galvanize voters. Hillary Clinton, a likely 2016 presidential candidate, held 45 events across the country. Bill Clinton or his chief of staff, Tina Flournoy, called Cecil daily for updates on internal polls or ad buys. Clinton was especially hands-on in his native Arkansas, where Pryor was headed toward defeat.

ABC News has a full scorecard for both Bill and Hillary. Some of the candidates they campaigned for won, of course, but that’s because they were safe blue-staters like Al Franken. All the battlegrounders save for Jeanne Shaheen, who barely held on against Scott Brown, ended up drowning in the wave. (Not just the battlegrounders either. They went to bat for Martha Coakley in Massachusetts, among others.) And when I say drowning, I mean it: Two races that the Clintons took a special interest in were Arkansas, obviously, and Kentucky due to their longstanding friendship with Alison Lundergan Grimes and her father. Pryor lost by 17 points. Grimes, who’d hung around within four points or so of Mitch McConnell for most of the race, got obliterated by 15. Maybe all that means is that middle-class white southerners are now so irretrievably lost to the Democrats that not even Bill Clinton can make a dent and avert a blowout. Hillary had better hope that’s all it means, though; if last night’s results are evidence of the Clintons’ appeal to middle-class whites outside the south too, she has bigger problems than she thinks in 2016. I can’t help noticing that even Charlie Crist, who had Bill Clinton campaigning for him in the cosmopolitan state of Florida despite supporting Clinton’s impeachment in 1998, couldn’t get past a flawed incumbent in Rick Scott. The Clintons were all-in on this election. Take a look at the map this afternoon.

As for Rand, beating on the Clintons is a favorite pastime because it’s an efficient way to solve some of his own 2016 problems. If you’re worried that he’s more libertarian than conservative and inclined to take the traditional libertarian “above the fray” approach to politics, here he is slugging away at one of the GOP’s favorite targets. Pitting himself against the likely Democratic nominee is a way to get Republicans thinking about him as a prospective nominee too. And of course Rand’s 2016 message is all about building a “new GOP.” Drawing a contrast with an old Democratic dynasty helps him do that. Here he is last night, long before Tillis’s upset in North Carolina had been called, dismissing the Clintons as old news who don’t wield the sort of populist power that they used to. Exit question: Was Rand the big winner among Republicans? He campaigned for virtually every Senate candidate in the country, with sterling results. Or was it his nemesis, Chris Christie, who presided over a GOP gubernatorial landslide at the RGA?