I saw two provocative readings today regarding those who oppose President Trump and both should be eye openers for Democrats and mainstream Republicans. The control of Congress in 2018, more than ever in history perhaps, is in the hands of the guy sitting in the Oval Office on Pennsylvania Avenue.
First… Beau Willimon, the creator of House of Cards for Netflix, proffered in a series of tweets that Trump may very well be playing the GOP and preparing to throw Ryan, McConnell and others like them under the bus… so that in the midterms in 2018 voters will reject current GOP as being too moderate and replace them with further right-leaning candidates, candidates who would be even more pro-Trump.
Before you reject that, consider that recent polling show that Trump’s approval rating is around 45% — and 47% of those polled think he is doing a fine job handling the economy. Just two weeks ago, a majority of those polled believed Trump was effectively changing business as usual in Washington.
Districts right now are favorably gerrymandered towards the GOP. So this is not a crazy theory that in 2018 the country could swing further to the right in a wave unlike the Tea Party revolt from 8 years ago. Certainly as the GOP rolled out their repeal and replacement plan for the ACA that the White House has pretty much sat on the sidelines.
The second thing floating around the interwebs are shots at Democrats for failing to play the right strategy against Trump. Current the idea of hope and pray that the next leak is going to lead to implosion or impeachment is losing badly. Rachel Maddow showed that last night in an underwhelming diatribe on Trump’s taxes, even having her guest admitting that perhaps Trump himself had leaked them. In trying to “expose” Trump on taxes, it actually did the opposite and gave him further talking points on a “dishonest media” and that he pays a lot in taxes.
And day after day, the march towards a Russian connection investigation is not likely to lead towards impeachment or mass resignations of key staff. It will be much like the GOP Benghazi investigation that dragged on for years and incited the GOP base, but did little to rile the middle or left.
NONE of this strategy is going to sway Trump voters. What Democrats need to solely focus on is where Trump has mislead his base or outright let them down. Hillary was vilified for her Goldman Sachs connections but now FIVE Goldman Sachs executives are on Trump’s team. This isn’t widely known. The GOP AHCA to wipe out the ACA is projected to leave scores of Trump supporters in a worse insurance position. Trump is refusing to appoint a large number of deputies and under-secretaries because he feels government is too big. While a key GOP tenet, smaller government might be better achieved in cutting differently. Leaving key high level government positions unfilled could lead to inefficient services for those Trump supporters in things like like to do, like wildlife, lakes & streams, transportation networks and veteran services.
Trump wrestled a lot of working class votes away from the Democrats because they drifted more towards big tent diversity, assuming they’d keep the support of Blue Collar America. But if If he fails to deliver on key working class promises, the working class needs to see it coming as they feel it.
Throw the hysterics, tweetstorms and crazy statements and even the Russian crap out the window. The make-up of Congress in 2018 is going to depend on one thing: Trump fulfilling his promises. If Trump fulfills his pledges in ways that succeed, Democrats might lose more seats in Congress. If Trump cannot fulfill his working class pledges, but the media continues the same shock and outrage journalism, people may just continue to believe Trump and there would be likely no change in power. But if he cannot fulfill pledges with a media focus on these failures above the other theatrics, then it’s not out of the question that the GOP could lose the House. Those gerrymandered districts are as much working class dominate as GOP voter dominate.
What is abundantly clear in both of these readings I came across today is that the control of the House of Representatives is in the hands of the President more than either political party.