|Trump, Ryan and McConnell: the triumvirate of evil.|
While Congressional Republicans - actually, Republicans at most levels, including Republican Women's clubs - shamelessly prostitute themselves to Donald Trump and throw away any shred of credibility of supporting "Christian values," across the country, Democrat voters are angry and energized. What is fueling the energy? As a piece in CNN points out, the number one sea anchor on Republicans is Donald Trump, the cult leader to whom the very same Republicans are selling their souls. And, as the CNN piece notes, none of the damage to the GOP flows from the Mueller investigation. And if Trump's own foul personal behavior were not bad enough, his policies are alienating more and more citizens outside of hardened racist, religious extremist, and vulture capitalist circles. A column in the Washington Post by a former Republican looks at the phenomenon. For locals, UVA's Larry Sabato now has Virginia's 2nd Congressional district as a "toss up." - with luck we may be rid of Scott Taylor. Here are highlights:
Republicans’ prospects for holding on to the House majority, already dim, have gotten bleaker of late. Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball notes: “We’re making 17 House ratings changes this week, all in favor of the Democrats. … One of those comes in OH-12, where the last nationally-watched special House election is taking place in a couple of weeks.”
Large turnout in 2017 and 2018 special elections generated more enthusiasm, which in turned opened the campaign donation spigots. The availability of money and sunny prospects for Democrats encouraged solid Democratic candidates to run — and Republican incumbents to retire.
There are more specific factors as well: the failure of tax cuts to result in higher wages; economic pain inflicted by President Trump’s trade wars; the #MeToo movement (which gets energy with each Republican’s misogynistic insult); rising health-care costs (which in part can be attributed to Republicans’ assault on the Affordable Care Act); Republicans’ continued indulgence of Trump’s erratic, dishonest and unhinged conduct, coupled with a sense that Trump needs to be checked, not enabled; and the disgust felt by college-educated voters, women and millennials over Republicans’ assault on human decency (e.g. family separations, “dreamers”).
In 2018, voters will either want Congress to support Trump’s turn-the-card-table-over style of governing, or they want to see Congress as a check on Trump.” She [ Cook Political Report’s Amy Walter] finds, “Right now, polls suggest more voters want Congress to provide a check on Trump.”
[V]oter intensity may be the most critical factor for Democrats. With each new perceived outrage (e.g., Trump’s betrayal in Helsinki, insults directed at Democratic women, the prospect of reversing Roe v. Wade, new lies about the Russia investigation), members of the Democratic base are reminded how desperately they want to end their Trumpian nightmare. If they cannot get rid of him in 2018, they can at least rid themselves of many of his enablers and apologists. For Republicans, the outrage machine seems to have played out. Each “Fake News” or “Russia hoax” tweet has less impact than the previous one; the inability to come up with new hot-button issues leads Trump to go back to tired retreads. (NFL players not kneeling!).
To put it in TV terms that Trump would surely appreciate, his presidency has lost its novelty; getting his fans to tune in becomes a chore — and everyone else would be delighted if the show got canceled.