As President Donald Trump continues to attack mail-in voting in the lead-up to the general election, one prominent Republican leader — House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), who leads Republicans in the House — has apparently been making their opposition to Trump’s attacks known. According to a new report in Axios from reporter Alayna Treene, McCarthy says that “he’s spent hours telling Trump that this preoccupation [with attacking mail-in voting] will hurt the president’s own re-election, as well as Republicans running for Congress.” After all, as McCarthy put it to Treene, if seniors don’t feel comfortable voting in person due to the Coronavirus but don’t vote by mail either due to the president’s antagonism, then the GOP base of support could shrink significantly.
McCarthy said, referring to Trump:
‘I tried to show him… you know who is most afraid of COVID? Seniors. And if they’re not going to go vote, period, we’re screwed.’
It’s worth noting — there have already been signs that the GOP’s base of support among seniors has been shrinking significantly in the lead-up to November. In a Quinnipiac University poll from May, during the initial height of the Coronavirus pandemic, voters who were 65 years of age and older supported Democratic presidential pick Joe Biden significantly more than they supported Trump. To be specific, 51 percent of them went for Biden, and only 41 percent went for Trump. Although there’s of course still plenty of time for opinions to shift ahead of the election, the Coronavirus doesn’t exactly seem poised to somehow magically fade away from public view at any point before Election Day, and the trend in that Quinnipiac survey has repeated elsewhere.
During recent campaign stops in Oregon and Utah, Axios’s Alayna Treene reports that McCarthy “told Republicans to vote by any means necessary.” It’s important to note — Axios reports that, according to sources described as “close” to the president’s campaign, “Trump trashes mail voting in part because he sees the messaging as good cover if he loses to Joe Biden in November.” There has never been any consistent factual basis for the president’s attacks on the process — although there have been isolated issues surrounding mail-in voting, the process (which has been used widely in the U.S. already!) does not pose a documented threat to the integrity of the election.