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Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Reprinted with permission from Shareblue.

Republicans are facing a massive wipeout this November, and the party is growing increasingly desperate to try to stave off the damage.

So desperate, in fact, that now they’re turning to former President George W. Bush for help.

Bush left office in 2009 with an abysmal 33 percent approval rating. While that number has gone up considerably since Trump took office, disapproval of Bush among his fellow Republicans has tripled since 2015.

But desperate times call for desperate measures — so Bush is hitting the fundraising trail for his party, Politico reports.

The infamously awkward and inarticulate Bush won’t be out on the campaign trail; the party isn’t quite that desperate, at least not yet.

Instead, he’ll be addressing donors behind closed doors, trying to raise money for embattled incumbents like Texas Reps. Will Hurd and Pete Sessions, and Senate hopefuls like Josh Hawley in Missouri and Mike Braun in Indiana.

“While he prefers to consider himself retired from politics,” a Bush spokesman said, he “recognizes how important it is to keep the Senate and decided to help a few key candidates.”

That the GOP is turning to Bush to try to save the Senate shows just how scared the party must be. Months ago, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell started fretting that his party could be a facing a “Category 3, 4 or 5” storm come November.

Since then, the fear that even the Senate might not be safe from the so-called “blue wave” has only grown worse. Last week, a new set of polling from NBC/Marist showed that three critical Senate races — Indiana, Missouri, and Tennessee — are looking bad for the GOP.

And then there’s Texas. Even though Republicans have held both Senate seats for nearly two decades, panic is spreading among the party that the unpopular Ted Cruz might actually lose to his Democratic challenger, Rep. Beto O’Rourke, who is raising enormous sums of cash and keeping the polling within single digits.

The toxic and unpopular Trump isn’t helping. As the editorial board of the Kansas City Star notedt his week, the fact that Trump is underwater in Missouri — a state he carried by 19 points in 2016 — spells trouble for Josh Hawley, the Republican trying to unseat Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill.

Hawley’s strong embrace of Trump might not help him in a state where voters don’t think highly of the job Trump is doing.

“But the way Trump is trending these days, Hawley and other Republicans might want to rethink their all-in allegiance to the president,” the Kansas City Star editorial states. “Even in Republican-controlled Missouri, Trump appears to be transitioning from a not-so-secret weapon to a potential drag on GOP candidates.”

It seems unlikely that Bush can be the great savior of the party that has kept its distance from him for the past decade.

And the party has kept its distance. Bush hasn’t even appeared at a Republican National Convention since 2004, though he did send in a video appearance in 2008 while he was still in office.

But Republicans don’t have a lot of options. And they certainly can’t count on the actual leader of the party — who keeps telling his fans all the polls are wrong and there will be a “red wave” in November — to deliver.

So with the GOP in trouble, the party is once again remembering the president they’ve spent years trying to forget. He’s not as bad as Trump, after all — so he couldn’t hurt, right?

Published with permission of The American Independent.