‘It makes me embarrassed to be a Republican’: Trump lackey Lindsey Graham seat at risk as he loses GOP support

Senator Lindsey Graham holding a microphone


Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) has spent the last 18 years in the Senate, easily winning his re-election bids. But in 2020, Lindsey Graham’s seat may finally be at risk — and he can thank Trump if he loses.

‘Embarrassed to be a Republican’

GOP Ostrich

Flickr / Storm Williams

Michael Quattlebaum, who attended his first GOP fundraiser at ten years old, says he wants his elected officials to “be angry about” George Floyd’s death. But the people he helped elect, Donald Trump and Lindsey Graham, aren’t. “It makes me embarrassed to be a Republican,” Quattlebaum told Politico. For the first time in his life, the 51-year-old  software consultant will be voting for Democrats:

I think Lindsey Graham, to a large degree, has been a talking head for Trump.

And he isn’t alone. Quattlebaum is just one of the many Republicans in South Carolina that are making the shift. The state hasn’t sent a Democrat to the Senate since 1998, but Jaime Harrison may change that.

By tying himself to the President, Lindsey Graham may have put himself at risk. “I’m not gonna vote for any Republican who doesn’t disassociate himself or herself from the Trump political school,” claims a Charleston attorney who has been donating to Graham’s campaign since 2004.

Jaime Harrison is putting Graham on defense

South Carolina Democratic Jaime Harrison


An associate chair of the Democratic National Committee and the first African American chair in S.C. Democratic Party, Jaime Harrison is making history. He is shattering fundraising expectations as well, hitting $29 million by June and stealing away some of Graham’s biggest contributors in past elections.

The money isn’t the only thing that is talking. Recent polls are showing Harrison and Graham are tied, and RealClearPolitics is calling the race a toss-up.

Political science professor and executive director of the Center for Public Opinion & Policy Research at Winthrop University, Scott Huffmon, thinks the path to victory is very narrow for Harrison:

“If Graham’s fortunes are closely tied to Trump’s … then, for Graham to lose, you either have to predict a Trump loss in South Carolina (which would precipitate a Graham loss) or a situation in which Trump wins in South Carolina and many Trump supporters either vote against Graham, or don’t vote in the Senate race,”

It is definitely an uphill battle for Harrison, but Trump continues to slip — even in deeply red South Carolina. His lead over Biden is half what it was at the beginning of the year.

‘One hundred percent not Lindsey Graham’

Lindsey Graham

Screenshot / YouTube

In South Carolina, even the Democrats have supported Lindsey Graham in past elections. Danielle Vinson, professor of politics and international affairs at Furman University in Greenville, says that the support stems from not wanting someone even more right-wing to end up in the seat. But now Lindsey Graham is at risk, “This time around, they’ve actually got a credible candidate.”

Harrison plans to tap into those Graham-supporting Dems as well as some of the 400,000 people of color that are unregistered in the state. He has plans to get at least a quarter of those currently unregistered to the polls.

But it isn’t just Harrison’s electability that has put him play. Graham has lost a lot of ground with his previous voters. Christen Clinkscales from Greenville asks, “He’s been in office a long time, and what has he done?” She says her voting preference is “one hundred percent not Lindsey Graham.”

As Trump continues to falter, the SC Senator is still clinging to his side. Democrats who thought he was a “good person” before “don’t understand what’s happened to him.”  And now they are donating to Harrison’s campaign. Plus, Harrison’s platform is something that life-long Republicans like Quattlebaum can stomach, “There’s not anything from a policy perspective that makes me think there’s no way I can support that.”

By tying himself so closely to Trump, Lindsey Graham may have opened the door for Jaime Harrison to walk right in.

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