“Donald Trump just blows it open for our side,” a national Democrat told me. “Both because I think you’ll see a lot of people come out to vote against him and also because of the position he’ll put Republican nominees in, which is not a place they want to be.” That “place” is trying to campaign in their home states while Donald Trump is making outrageous headlines across the country every day. Do they support what he supports? Will he take them down if they disagree with him? Are they for the wall? The database? Bombing the *&%# out of ISIS?
Even without their party’s nomination, Trump has already put GOP Rep. Joe Heck of Nevada in a tight spot when Trump declared to ABC News that the U.S.-born children of undocumented immigrants “have to go. They have to go.” Heck is running for the open Senate seat against a Democrat who would be the first Latina senator in history. Did Heck agree with Trump, reporters wanted to know? (Sort of, he said.)
Leslie Sanchez, a veteran GOP pollster based in Los Angeles, told me that Trump’s comments so far will stick to all Republicans going into November, whether or not he’s the nominee. “At some point Trump has to be accountable for what he has said, as do the people down the ballot, which doesn’t reflect the new governing majority.”
The states where Trump could do damage to sitting Republican senators is lengthy.