Democrats have a secret weapon they plan to use as they try to take back control of the U.S. Senate in 2020. And the strategy has already proven that it works
As Alexi McCammond reports for Axios, Democrats are running candidates with backgrounds in national security against Republican candidates, especially in states Trump won in 2016:
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This is the same strategy that helped Democrats take back the House in 2018. Candidates with foreign policy and national security experience flipped crucial GOP-held seats from Pennsylvania to California.
Call it the “American heroes” strategy, and one of the Democrats who won in 2018 says it does indeed work. Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-NJ), a former National Security Council senior adviser for President Bill Clinton, commented:
“Having that foreign policy, national security background helps candidates pass a seriousness and patriotism test.”
A few of the other House Democrats who won with national security experience: Reps. Chrissy Houlahan, Andy Kim, Elaine Luria, Max Rose, Mikie Sherrill, Abigail Spanberger and Elissa Slotkin.
And of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s 89 red-to-blue candidates in 2016, 19 were military veterans.
One of the highest profile Democratic Senate challengers in 2020 is Amy McGrath, who is running against Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R) in Kentucky, one of the reddest states in the country. McGrath is a veteran and the first female Marine to ever fly a F/A-18 in combat.
Here’s some of the others who could help turn the Senate blue next year:
- Mark Kelly, who’s challenging Sen. Martha McSally in Arizona, is a former Navy captain who flew 39 combat missions during Operation Desert Storm and commanded Space Shuttle Endeavour.
- Cal Cunningham is an Iraq War veteran who was awarded the Bronze Star Medal and served as a major in the U.S Army Reserve. He’s challenging Sen. Thom Tillis in North Carolina.
- MJ Hegar, who’s running against John Cornyn in Texas, is an Afghanistan veteran who served in the Air Force and was awarded the Purple Heart in 2009.
- Dan Baer was the U.S. ambassador to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), dealing directly with Russia. He’s challenging Sen. Cory Gardner in Colorado.
And the key to making sure these candidates have instant credibility with voters comes down to their national security credentials:
There’s “immediate credibility that comes with this background,” said Jeff Prescott, executive of National Security Action, which is co-chaired by former Obama foreign policy aide Ben Rhodes.
Retaking the Senate won’t be an easy task, but it’s certainly possible, especially with Republicans having to defend more seats than Democrats. If turnout is high across the country and there’s even a slight coattail effect from the Democratic presidential nominee, Democrats could wake up on the morning after the election in control of the House, the Senate, and the White House.
Featured Image Via NBC News