IMAGE CREDIT: TODAY.COM

Republican House and Senate candidates believe they have a strategy to avoid the taint of Donald Trump. It is quite simple: refuse to answer for whom they are going to pull the lever for president. That way, they believe, they will not alienate the Trumpistas, while also not attaching themselves to him.

But, Meet the Press’s Chuck Todd is not going to let them get away with it. He set his baseline standard in 2014 during the race for the Senate in Kentucky. In the debate between Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes (D-KY) and Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Grimes said her vote for president in 2012 was private and personal, and did not disclose for whom she voted.

That was too much for Todd. It was fine, for example, for McConnell to have lied flat-out to more than a half-million Kentuckians about the fate of their healthcare if McConnell were elected, and did the bidding of his paymasters to take it away. McConnell had just claimed that the state exchange, KyNect, was “only a website”. That was non-disqualifying.

But, it was disqualifying to Todd for Grimes not to disclose for whom she had voted for president.

Well, OK. Each of us has standards, this is Todd’s. Indeed, when challenged on it, he doubled-down. It was clearly his moral Rubicon, forcing him to shed his ‘honest broker’ role and to reveal his judgment.

Now, two years later, Todd will have to apply this standard to nearly every Republican running for the House or Senate. Their strategy of refusing to disclose will run into Todd’s buzzsaw.

Nor will it be sufficient to state they are not voting for Trump. They will have to say for whom they are voting.

Otherwise, Chuck Todd will state unequivocally that they are ‘disqualified’. And, he will repeat it. He has no choice.

It may or may not sway many elections. But, Meet the Press is the longest running Sunday gab show. Some swing voters may take some cues from his insistence that they are disqualified.