Donald Trump sparked bipartisan backlash this week when he suggested that late Congressman John Dingell is in hell, with even diehard supporters like Lindsey Graham criticizing the attempted joke.
To folks who have been paying attention to Trump over the past four years, it’s no surprise that he would spew such a nasty comment – but it could have real-world electoral consequences for the president in 2020.
As MSNBC’s Joy Reid pointed out on Saturday morning, Trump barely won Michigan in 2016, where Dingell is still an incredibly popular figure. The MSNBC host predicted that Democrats will highlight the repugnant remark in TV ads.
“Remember, Donald Trump barely won Michigan, he won it by like 10,000 votes. He needs that state,” Reid said. “Does he not think there will be ads showing this horribly cruel moment? Of course, there will.”
— PoliticusUSA (@politicususa) December 21, 2019
Just as a political matter, this is an enormously popular man, John Dingell who passed away just this year. His wife is grieving, suffering her first Christmas without her husband. You can see when she is on television she is visibly still shaken by her husband’s death. To be so cruel to a woman, to a widow, because you’re angry about a vote that she made along with 230 other people and to be so vicious in a state where he’s popular that you need to win. Remember, Donald Trump barely won Michigan, he won it by like 10,000 votes. He needs that state. And to alienate, does he not think there will be ads showing this horribly cruel moment? Of course there will. … He’s got to stop. Between that and Republicans likening him to Jesus as someone who grew up in the church, that is shocking to liken him to being from God, of God or God. I think a lot of this behavior is starting to peeling off in the edges, in the margins some evangelicals who say this has gone too far. That we shouldn’t be worshipping this man just for judges.
Trump’s 2020 map is shrinking, not growing
Donald Trump’s best hope of winning in 2020 is to keep the midwestern states of Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin in his column after picking them off by the slimmest of margins in 2016.
Given the unlikely chance that he will flip any of Hillary Clinton’s states, those three battlegrounds are essentially his only route to 270 electoral votes.
If Michigan’s 16 electoral votes are taken out of Trump’s column, Democrats are only 22 electoral votes away from the magic number needed to take back the White House.
With Democratic challengers – Joe Biden, in particular – ahead in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin and surging in states like Arizona, Georgia and Texas, Trump’s road to 270 electoral votes is rocky, to say the least.
His disgusting joke in Michigan will make it even rockier.