However, during a debate between Republican Senator Kelly Ayotte and her Democratic challenger Gov. Maggie Hassan last night, Ayotte not only may have cost herself a chance at reelection, but she may have helped Democrats design the perfect playbook for defeating other Republican Senators this fall.
Put this one simple question to them: “Do you think that Donald Trump is a good role model for children?”
If you’re a Republican, there’s no good answer here, especially in a swing state full of moderates. If you say “Yes,” you alienate swing voters who know that Trump should never be considered a positive role model, and if you say no, you alienate the Republican base who aspire for their children to grow up, take advantage of the tax system, become famous on a reality show, espouse bigotry, and run for President.
A flustered Ayotte initially gave this answer during her debate with Hassan last night:
“I think that certainly there are many role models that we have, and I believe he can serve as President, and so absolutely,’ he is a role model to children.
That answer didn’t sit well on social media. In fact, Ayotte immediately regretted it and tried to take backsies in a statement she released soon after the debate.
“I misspoke tonight,” Ayotte wrote in a statement. “While I would hope all of our children would aspire to be president, neither Donald Trump nor Hillary Clinton have set a good example and I wouldn’t hold up either of them as role models for my kids.”
In other words:
Ayotte: Trump is a good role model. Absolutely.— Kaili Joy Gray (@KailiJoy) October 4, 2016
America: OMFG lol
Ayotte: I mean he's NOT a good role model. Not. That's what I meant.
Hassan pounced, quickly releasing a new ad tying Ayotte to Trump.
In NH-Sen, Hassan camp already has a digital ad on Ayotte calling Trump a role model (later backed off) https://t.co/dFQpGIgRxd— Benjy Sarlin (@BenjySarlin) October 4, 2016
Rinse, repeat in Florida, Indiana, North Carolina, Florida, Nevada, and Missouri. And that, folks, is how Democrats can take back the Senate.