Sunday, October 14, 2018

Republican Candidates Are Falling Flat in In Trump Country

In politics, one should never allow them-self to feel over confident.  It is always essential to act as if one is behind and must turn out every possible voter so that one either wins by a small margin or, better yet, wins by a landslide,  That said, things appear to be looking up for Democrats in the Mid-West where much of Donald Trump's promised economic resurgence is falling flat.   The result is that Republican candidates are likewise filling flat in midterm election contests.  Indeed, the Des Moines Register has endorsed Democrat candidates complaining" the GOP has failed to govern,"  Here are highlights from that papers argument that Republicans need to be sent into retirement:
When Republicans achieved the trifecta in 2016, winning the presidency as well as holding the House and Senate, it seemed the country was poised to move beyond the GOP-engineered partisan gridlock that had characterized much of the previous six years.Not so much, as it turned out. The Republican majority in Congress tried and failed to dismantle the Affordable Care Act without offering a plan of their own that a majority of their own members — let alone a majority of the American people — could support.  Instead, they have allowed the system to become increasingly unstable, leading to a lack of competition and rising premiums.
Republicans in Congress have not only failed at comprehensive immigration reform, but their action allowed protection to expire on young, undocumented Americans brought here as children. They haven’t even fully funded President Trump’s border wall. They stood by as the administration tried to bar Muslims from certain countries from entering the United States. They looked the other way as the administration shocked and dismayed the nation by separating young children from their parents at the border, holding them in detention and losing track of some of the kids.
Republicans promised fiscal responsibility, yet they have punted on putting the nation back on sound financial footing. Their one major legislative success, the 2017 tax cut, is projected to add $1.9 trillion to the debt. This, after Republicans howled endlessly about the comparatively meager deficits created during the Obama administration. The Congressional Budget Office said in August that these tax cuts and spending increases would become “unsustainable” if extended. But the House GOP, including Iowa’s three Republican representatives, voted last month for another $3.8 trillion in tax cuts.
In becoming the party of Trump, the Republicans have forsaken traditional conservatism and given voters no rational alternative to the Democrats. The party needs to be voted out of power and spend a few years becoming again the party of Lincoln, not the party of Trump.
Nothing short of a change in party leadership in Congress will move this country forward. That’s why we’re recommending that Iowa voters send home Reps. Rod Blum, David Young and Steve King and return Rep. Dave Loebsack to the House.

Thankfully, Republican problems extend far beyond Iowa and, as in Iowa, Trump appears to be a major obstacle for many voters.  These highlights from the Washington Post looks at the situation:
Polling shows [GOP Congressman Lou Barletta] well behind Democratic Sen. Robert P. Casey Jr. Indeed, it has become increasingly hard for Republicans to remain optimistic about the chances for him and other GOP candidates across the industrial Midwest.
Republicans running for governor or senator in Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania, including several who hitched their wagon to Trump’s political movement, are behind in polls by double digits, a remarkable turnabout in swing states that were key to the president’s 2016 victory.
If current polling averages hold, Democrats will maintain all their Senate seats in those states, pick up a handful of House seats and, in some cases, retake the governors’ mansions. In nearby Iowa, a state Trump won by nearly 10 points, the Democratic candidate for governor was running about even with the Republican governor in a Des Moines Register/Mediacom Iowa Poll. Polling this week found Gov. Scott Walker (R-Wis.) trailing his Democratic opponent, Tony Evers.
The dramatic shift has forced political strategists to reevaluate their post-mortem lessons from the 2016 election, while raising new questions about Trump’s staying power in 2020. Democratic strategists, who worried that Iowa and Ohio were slipping away from them in presidential years, are now heartened and have begun to return their attention to the traditional bellwethers.
“One false assumption that was made was that a Trump voter from the 2016 election was necessarily a Republican voter,” said John Brabender, a GOP consultant who is working with Barletta.
There is a clear historical precedent for such a shift. Then-candidate Barack Obama swept the industrial Midwest in the 2008 elections, only to find his party battered in his first midterm contest two years later, when Republicans retook governorships in Ohio, Michigan, Iowa and Wisconsin, along with Senate seats in Indiana and Wisconsin. Obama was nonetheless able to come back and win those same states, with the exception of Indiana, in his 2012 reelection.
Still, the short-term impact is dire for Republicans. After surprising the nation in 2016, Trump appears to be driving turnout this year that will largely benefit Democrats, as moderate voters, and college-educated women in particular, seek an outlet for their frustration with his policies and behavior. Trump’s aggressive campaign schedule for Republicans in these states has so far failed to turn the tide.
“They thought they had unlocked some formula that would make them successful. But it was only Trump and only that year,” Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) said of the 2016 election. “What the Republicans are doing now isn’t working for union members or struggling families. It’s not working for young people. It’s just not working.”
Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), who began the year as a leading target for conservative super PACs but is besting Republican challenger Leah Vukmir by about 10 points in recent polls, attributes her success to the return of an energized Democratic voting base, driven by issues such as health care and sustained by how the party, in her view, has built a case that’s bigger than just opposing Trump. . . . . They are saying, ‘No more sitting on the sidelines.’ ”
That same pattern is playing out in Michigan, where Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D) and the Democratic candidate for governor, Gretchen Whitmer, have both had comfortable margins in recent polling. Trump won the state by a whisker-thin margin of 10,704 votes in 2016.
“Everything I am seeing in my numbers is revolving not around his [Trump's] job approval but whether you view him favorably or unfavorably,” said pollster Richard Czuba, who runs a statewide survey for the Detroit News and WDIV. “Donald Trump doesn’t have an opponent, and that is his problem right now. ”
The result is a sharp overall surge in voter enthusiasm in the state compared to 2016, and big swings in suburban areas such as Oakland County, the state’s wealthiest region, outside Detroit. “We are finding it difficult to find college-educated women in Oakland County who will call themselves Republicans,” Czuba said.
In many of the Great Lakes states, candidates like Barletta who most tied themselves to the Trump agenda are still flailing. In Ohio, Rep. James B. Renacci (R), whose first Senate campaign ad was about his tight bond with Trump, has yet to come within 10 points of incumbent Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) in a major public poll.
“We have lost millions of members of our party in the last year,” said John Weaver, a Republican adviser to Ohio Gov. John Kasich and a Trump critic, reflecting on how Trump’s bid split the party. “A MAGA candidate who runs as a junior member of the walking dead and wins the primary is going to find themselves shot in the general election.”
Complicating things further is the devotion of the Republican base to Trump’s take-no-prisoners approach, which can make it dangerous for GOP candidates who seek to create some distance.
Trump was able to win in 2016 by contrasting himself with Clinton, who was boasting of an economic resurgence under Obama, in the stock market and unemployment rate, that many voters did not feel in their daily lives.
“Now he is falling into that same line of argument and people are saying, ‘Not so much,’ ” Ryan said. “There is no substantial change.”

1 comment:

Sixpence Notthewiser said...

I certainly hope so. I never underestimate the stupidity of people, though. And I'm sure that in some states an inept repug will win.