Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas warned on Friday that Republicans could suffer “a bloodbath of Watergate proportions” on election day — while still saying the GOP has a shot for victory come November.
Cruz spoke about the possibility of his party losing the White House and being in the minority in both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives if people are “angry” on election day. He blamed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, both Democrats, for the stalemate over a second coronavirus relief bill after President Donald Trump halted negotiations this week.
“If people are going back to work, if they’re optimistic, if they’re positive about the future, we could see a fantastic election: the president getting reelected with a big margin, Republicans winning both Houses of Congress,” Cruz in a CNBC interview Friday.
“But I also think if on Election Day, people are angry and they’ve given up hope and they’re depressed, which is what Pelosi and Schumer want them to be, I think it could be a terrible election. I think we could lose the White House and both houses of Congress, that it could be a bloodbath of Watergate proportions.”
The House is currently controlled by Democrats, who were swept into power during the 2018 midterm elections when they gained 41 seats. The Senate is currently controlled by Republicans under Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
Cruz called the election “highly volatile” and added that he was “worried.” The senator referred to the gains Democrats made in Congress after President Richard Nixon resigned due to the Watergate scandal. Jimmy Carter, a Democrat, then won the presidential race two years later in 1976.
FiveThirtyEight shows Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has a 85% chance of winning the election as of Oct. 9, while President Donald Trump has a 15% chance. Biden’s chances are up 5 percentage points compared to Oct. 1
Democrats have a 68% chance of capturing the U.S. Senate, according to FiveThirtyEight’s forecast, and a 94% chance of holding onto the House.
Biden was leading the race by 8 points after the first presidential debate — but before Trump was hospitalized with COVID-19, according to a SurveyUSA poll. After Trump was taken to Walter Reed, Biden was leading by 16 points for an average of a 10 percentage point lead. The poll of 2,000 adults was conducted Oct. 1-4 and has a credibility interval of plus or minus 3.6 percentage points.
Earlier this week, Trump tweeted that he was ending negotiations for a second coronavirus stimulus bill and instead urged the Senate to consider his nomination of Amy Coney Barrett for the U.S. Supreme Court. But he changed course and, on Oct. 8, Trump said he’s restarting talks on the relief bill, despite there being “no evidence” indicating progress on the negotiations, The Hill reported. .
“I shut down talks two days ago because they weren’t working out. Now they’re starting to work out,” Trump said in an interview with Fox Business.
Democrats and Republicans have struggled to agree on a follow-up relief package to the CARES Act that went into law in March and provided most Americans with $1,200 payments during the coronavirus pandemic.
House Democrats passed another coronavirus relief bill on Oct. 1, but they have nearly no chance of advancing it through the Republican-controlled Senate. In response, the White House unveiled a $1.6 trillion counteroffer that includes less funding for unemployment and for state and local governments when compared to the bill backed by Democrats.
Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin spoke again on Oct. 5 but didn’t reach a deal, CNBC reported. McConnell said Friday it is “unlikely” a coronavirus relief bill will pass before the election.
“I’d like to see us rise above that like we did back in March and April, but I think that’s unlikely in the next three weeks,” the Senate’s top Republican said, according to CNBC.
The Democrats’ package includes reviving the $600 weekly federal unemployment benefits from the CARES Act that expired at the end of July. The White House offer would include $400 federal benefits per week through the rest of this year, Roll Call reported.
Both stimulus proposals would include another round of $1,200 payments for individuals and $500 for dependents.