Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo. talks to supporters during a campaign stop Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2018, in Kansas City, Mo. McCaskill is facing challenger, Missouri Attorney General and Republican U.S. Senate candidate Josh Hawley in the upcoming election. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

Senator Claire McCaskill is in the fight of her political life, attempting to hold onto her US Senate seat here in Missouri. The latest Missouri Scout Poll has her opponent, Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley, with a 4 point lead, and the RCP average has Hawley at a +2.  As we’ve noted here before, Trump won Missouri by 19 points in 2016. And this time around (as opposed to 2012 – shudder), the GOP contender doesn’t show any signs of folding or contracting terminal foot-in-mouth syndrome prior to Election Day.

Consistent with the conventional wisdom, Claire is making her final push by running to the middle, hoping to pick up the moderate/Independent vote and, possibly, the disaffected GOP vote. In fact, she’s not just attempting to claim the “moderate” mantle for herself, she’s attempting to distance — really distance — herself from the progressive left by dubbing them “crazy.”

As the New York Times reported yesterday, McCaskill elaborated as to whom she was referring with the “crazy Democrats” description:

Ms. McCaskill, who has been attacked by her Republican challenger, Josh Hawley, as too liberal for Missouri, was asked on Fox about a radio ad that sunnily describes her as “not one of those crazy Democrats.”

When asked who she considered to be crazy Democrats, Ms. McCaskill pointed to liberal activists who have publicly confronted Trump administration officials and other Republican figures in recent months.

“The crazy Democrats are the people who walk into restaurants and scream in elected officials’ faces. The crazy Democrats are — we have a state senator here in Missouri that actually advocated for the assassination of President Trump,” Ms. McCaskill said, referring to State Senator Maria Chappelle-Nadal, who made the remark on Facebook last year. “That’s a crazy Democrat.”

It isn’t that McCaskill’s assessment is totally unfair. We covered Chappelle-Nadal’s antics fairly extensively last year, (here, here, and here.) But this is either a truly gutsy move, or desperation-driven disaster. Hillary Clinton slapped the “deplorable” label on those she already knew would never vote for her. Claire’s taking a chance on alienating people whose votes she absolutely needs.

And it hasn’t played well — particularly to the aforementioned “crazy Democrat.” Chappelle-Nadal is having none of McCaskill’s shade and is (verbally) punching back:

In fact, Chappelle-Nadal’s Twitter feed is a veritable cornucopia of McCaskill hate right now:

We’ll know in a week if Claire’s “crazy” gambit paid off. But I’ve a sneaky suspicion this crafty politician may have played this too clever by half this time.

 

 


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