Here’s the Ad Democrats Will Run If Trump Is the Nominee

3 minute read

A potential Democratic Senate candidate may have just previewed a key Democratic strategy for next fall.

In a 60-second ad posted on YouTube, Arizona Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick condemns Republican Sen. John McCain for saying that he would support Donald Trump if the real estate mogul wins the Republican presidential nomination.

The ad cuts between McCain saying he would back Trump if he’s the nominee with some of Trump’s more controversial statements, including the time he denigrated McCain for getting captured during the Vietnam War.

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McCain is hardly a Trump booster. He enthusiastically endorsed longtime friend Sen. Lindsey Graham, who has since dropped out, then said he would not make any other endorsements in the primary. When his former running mate, Sarah Palin, endorsed Trump, McCain was noncommittal, saying he respected her decision.

“He’s distanced himself about as far as he can without going that last step to say he won’t support him if he’s the nominee,” said Doug Heye, a former top spokesman for the Republican National Committee.

McCain also has practical reasons not to get too involved in the Republican primary. He still has to win the party nomination for re-election, though he beat back a Tea Party challenger in 2010 he already faces a challenger this year.

Heye said he wasn’t surprised that the ad like this came. “The only thing that surprised me is that we saw it was in Arizona,” he said, noting that Trump might fare well in Arizona. Heye had expected to see such ads in more politically divided states such as New Hampshire, Illinois or Wisconsin.

If Trump becomes the nominee, Democratic Congressional candidates across the country will have a wealth of material from the brash businessman’s campaign with which to attack their Republican opponents. It’s becoming an issue for Republican lawmakers to decide whether it’s worse for the party if they don’t support the nominee, or if it’s worse to support Trump at all. That’s a rift the Democratic candidates can, and will exploit.

“That’s one of the really troubling things about his candidacy,” Heye said of Trump. “It’s not just that it threatens Republicans picking up the White House. It hurts us in vulnerable House and Senate seats.”

With reporting by Philip Elliott

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