Despite the anxiety Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) carries as he vies to keep control of the chamber in a seemingly competitive midterm atmosphere, the veteran party leader still has time for fun.
“I enjoyed it, actually,” McConnell said of his viral Narcos-inspired tweet poking fun at former Republican West Virginia Senate candidate Don Blankenship. “It sorta softened my image, don’t you think?” he joked in an interview with Politico Thursday.
Though his viral tweet may have given the stern Senate leader some reprieve, he faces uphill battles in 2018. “If you look at history, it’s pretty clear that two years into any new administration is dicey territory for the party of the President. I don’t think this year will be any different. The wind is going to be in our face,” McConnell told Politico. “We have three vulnerabilities: Arizona, Nevada and Tennessee.”
He reportedly added that he feels confident about the GOP’s chances of defeating Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), though he acknowledged the power of the incumbency advantage. “Even though incumbents can be defeated, most of the time it’s hard,” McConnell told Politico. “So I think a realistic assessment of the landscape is, yes, the Senate certainly is in play.”
Though the House has been the subject of most midterm speculation, the party that wins the Senate will have inordinate power to sink or approve Trump’s nominees, a crucial factor in McConnell’s crusade to get as many conservative judges pushed through as possible.
“If we’re able to hold the Senate, the President’s — in my view — outstanding appointments are likely to be confirmed for the four years of his term,” McConnell told Politico. “So I think holding the Senate has a huge impact on the success of the administration.”