Republicans are scrambling to paint a Democratic gubernatorial win in Kentucky and a blue wave in the Virginia state legislature as anything other than a rebuke of President Donald Trump.
After Democrat Andy Beshear narrowly defeated incumbent Republican Governor Matt Bevin in Kentucky, Trump and his allies promptly threw Bevin under the bus, claiming that he was double digits behind Beshear until Trump showed up to a rally in Kentucky last week, thus evening the score.
Our big Kentucky Rally on Monday night had a massive impact on all of the races. The increase in Governors race was… https://t.co/PpjQ0BsGch— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump)1573017306.0
GOP Chair Ronna McDaniel had a more precise polling deficit for Bevin.
No one energizes our base like @realDonaldTrump. In Kentucky, the governor was down 17 points. President Trump h… https://t.co/pJfDrvkzo6— Ronna McDaniel (@Ronna McDaniel)1573015284.0
And, of course, Fox News host Laura Ingraham followed suit.
If you don’t believe Fox News is a Republican propaganda network, just watch Laura #FireIngraham say that losing th… https://t.co/viIOCSLDpo— Grant Stern (@Grant Stern)1573050209.0
But CNN's Daniel Dale and MSNBC's Jesse Rodriguez found the President's claim baseless. As polling clearly showed, Bevin was actually up 5 points mere days before election day.
11:37 PM: Bevin had been down at least 15 points 11:41 PM: Bevin had been down 17 points 12:15 AM: Bevin might’ve… https://t.co/56V2kdVMW1— Daniel Dale (@Daniel Dale)1573019937.0
Matt Bevin (R) was ahead by 5 points in polling just before Trump's rally in Kentucky last week https://t.co/RA999nXF9q— Jesse Rodriguez (@Jesse Rodriguez)1573050437.0
Ah, but never fear -- after scouring polls, CNN fact-checker Daniel Dale finally found one similar to Trump's claim.
I think I found the poll on which Trump and the RNC are basing their claim that Bevin had been down 15/17/20! A lit… https://t.co/TeSukFMQYx— Daniel Dale (@Daniel Dale)1573043800.0
However, HuffPost's White House Correspondent says that Trump's campaign manager told the President that Bevin was up five points, more in keeping with Rodriguez's tweet.
Bevin down by 20? A top GOP source told me the only reason Trump agreed to go down to do a rally for Bevin in the… https://t.co/ROzYBJwoAG— S.V. Dáte (@S.V. Dáte)1573041307.0
While Kentucky did see some Republican wins, the news was generally bad for the GOP, and especially for Trump, whose rallies seemed to hurt rather than help his candidate.
If this momentum remains consistent, it could mean bad news for Trump both on his reelection and impeachment fronts.
On last night’s results, source who regularly talks to Trump: “Totally bad. Kentucky and Virginia signal to GOP the… https://t.co/XooUMIoehT— Jim Acosta (@Jim Acosta)1573041298.0
Republicans are freaking out this morning. They don’t know what to do. Their entire party is in shambles after gett… https://t.co/p0F1lj4Jel— Scott Dworkin (@Scott Dworkin)1573047842.0
Hey GOP Senators, now that you’ve seen what happened to Matt Bevin in very red Kentucky, still so sure you’re going… https://t.co/v11UHEzxQp— Steven Beschloss (@Steven Beschloss)1573021445.0
Though Team Trump is downplaying the victories now, it's worth noting that Trump said at his Kentucky rally just ahead of the election:
"You gotta vote because if you lose, it sends a really bad message. It just sends a bad and they're going to build it up. If you win, they're gonna be like 'ho hum.' If you lose, they're gonna say, 'Trump suffered the greatest defeat in the history of the world.' You can't let that happen to me."
Thankfully, Kentucky voters just did.