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Can the GOP Senate Majority survive Donald Trump?

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CHICAGO – The New York Times Magazine's Robert Draper followed Illinois' U.S. Senator Mark Kirk as he visited a gay bar prior to Chicago's annual Gay Pride Parade the last weekend in June. Draper then used the event to introduce the re-election challenges Kirk will have in November with Donald J. Trump at the top of the ticket.

…Senator Mark Kirk rolled into an uptown Chicago bar in his wheelchair to take part in the city’s 47th annual L.G.B.T. Pride Parade, wearing a red polo shirt, charcoal khakis and the abashed half-smile of a 56-year-old man who has already assessed his long odds of blending in. He hoisted himself up and made his way into the crowd, leaning on the cane he has used since suffering a severe stroke four years ago.

A few young people wearing robin’s-egg blue Equality Illinois T-shirts approached him. They shook his hand and thanked him for being one of the few Republican senators to sponsor the Equality Act, which would extend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to prohibit discrimination against L.G.B.T. people. The encounters tended to be brief, because even in the most favorable circumstances Kirk has always been a somewhat awkward conversationalist. Crowded up against a middle-aged woman wearing a rainbow tutu, he offered: “My friend has a 3-year-old granddaughter who wears nothing but tutus. It’d be good to get her one of those. Good for, er, political purposes.”

On his way out the door, Kirk found his path impeded by another wheelchair-using politician: Representative Tammy Duckworth, his Democratic opponent in November’s election, who lost both of her legs to a grenade as an Army helicopter pilot during the Iraq war. The two wincingly shook hands — “Whenever you run into your opponent,” he told me later, “there’s always that fake smile” — but said nothing.

Out on North Broadway, where the festivities were about to begin, Kirk climbed into the gray Mustang convertible that would ferry him through the parade. Before long, Duckworth materialized nearby. The 48-year-old congresswoman wore a rainbow-colored tie-dyed T-shirt, several beaded necklaces and a halo of flowers in her hair. “Woo hoo!” she hollered as onlookers called out her name. Meanwhile Kirk — a man who is palpably of, by and for the northern suburbs of Chicago — sat in the passenger seat of the Mustang and cast a pensive gaze at the gray clouds gathering overhead.

The rest of Draper's story is HERE.

Despite Republican conservatives' strong stand in favor of traditional marriage, Kirk has raked in endorsements from the LGBT Community – including the Human Rights Campaign, who wrote in the spring that they were especially pleased with his pro-LGBT legislative record as U.S. Senator:

Senator Kirk has been a strong ally in the Republican Party. He was the first Senate Republican to cosponsor the Equality Act, a critical step towards full federal equality. He was one of fewer than a dozen Congressional Republicans to support marriage equality, and he was also the Republican lead on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA). He supported the Matthew Shepard/James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act. And, the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” would never have passed the Senate without the leadership of Republican Senators including Mark Kirk.

More HERE.

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13 COMMENTS

  1. I’m pretty sure whoever titled the article had not read it. There is one mention of Trump at the start of the article and then it’s all about Mark Kirk.
    A better question would be “Does it matter if the GOP controls the Senate since they gave Obama all appointments and everything else they want until election season?”

  2. Feingold beats Johnson -1
    Duckworth beats Kirk -1
    Bayh defeats Young -1
    Hassan defeats Ayotte -1
    Hold NC, OH, PA, FL, KY
    Possible pick up in NV. Long shot in CO.
    It will be close. 51-49 most likely either way. Would be necessary to ram through a Supreme Court justice if Trump wins.
    if Hillary wins it doesn’t matter. Any putative GOP majority would fold like a house of cards to her.

  3. Mark Kirk never had much of a chance of winning in 2016.
    As much as I dislike Trump, it’s disingenuous to blame Trump for Kirk’s almost metaphysically-certain loss in November.
    You can’t even blame the fact that he can’t effectively campaign because of his stroke.
    The simple fact is, it has been evident ever since his bare victory in 2010 against the mob’s banker – yes, a man whom even the leftist mainstream media referred to as the mob’s banker.
    If Kirk had such a difficult time beating the mob’s banker in 2010, the best year for the GOP in decades – it should’ve been a 60-40 or 65-35 rout – then it should’ve been obvious to everyone in the party that he would need to be replaced by 2016 because he’d be a doomed candidate.
    Even to give him all the benefit of the doubt, the fact remains that a tuna sandwich could’ve beaten Alexi Giannoulias in 2010. Kirk simply doesn’t have the political skill (issues, charisma, following, etc.) to be a successful statewide candidate.
    He should have been replaced in the primary. The party combine once again ensured a democrat victory in Illinois. You can’t blame the voters.

  4. I didn’t know there were so many stupid white liberals in Indiana, but it figures since they stabbed the conservative in the back in 2012 and it wasn’t that close. I hope hipster-types who moved to Indianapolis for work enjoy their Obama ‘health’care exchange.

  5. Seeing Mark Kirk in his run for the Senate six years ago, my impression of him is: he is a snotty little egotistic jerk.
    Maybe he is the toast of Lake County, but he doesn’t show up well in the rest of Illinois.

  6. My impression of him has always been the same.
    He rode his military experience, and pretense of Conservatism, to the senate.
    Now he’s about to get whooped by someone with military experience and NO pretense of Conservatism.
    Having 2 far left senators will be difficult, but at least we will know what we have.

  7. Kirk’s win in 2010 was a gift. How many politicians had the benefit of facing an opponent whose family owned bank was under investigation by federal regulators in the weeks leading up to the general election?
    Kirk was desperately trying to create a similar dynamic concerning Duckworth’s being sued by former employees, but the lawsuit settled.