by Jeffrey A. Rendall
It should come as no surprise to regular followers of American politics that the media is already concentrating intently on this year’s midterm elections – after all, pundits have been fixated on the subject literally since the day Donald Trump vanquished Crooked Hillary Clinton in 2016. With Republicans now controlling all of the elected branches of government the next round of political races offers these desperate souls their only prayer for liberation from their long-dreaded banishment to the electoral wilderness.
Trump’s administration has proven to be the most conservative since Reagan (thus far), so the prospect of deliverance is the only thing liberals care about. Sadly, it’s leading them to delusion.
Here it is the end of just the first workweek in January and predictions from Democrats abound as to how badly Republicans will suffer for their Trump-supporting sins on November 6th. It’s not hard to find such forecasts, either. For the politically obsessed it’s a 24/7/365 news cycle no matter what else is happening in the world.
Oddly enough some suggest this year could be Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s last rodeo as Democrat leader of the people’s house if the party fails to realize the projected big gains in the midterms.
Laura Barrón López reported in the Washington Examiner, “If Democrats somehow fail to flip the House in November, rank-and-file members in increasing numbers say they are going to clean shop, demanding House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California and other party leaders step aside.
“Democrats are heavily favored to win back the House in the 2018 midterms but anything can happen in 11 months. And even if Democrats manage to win the 24 seats needed to secure the majority, there’s a growing chorus of members who want to see change at the top…
“The targets: Pelosi, Steny Hoyer of Maryland and Jim Clyburn of South Carolina. Pelosi has served as Democratic leader for 15 years, holding the speaker’s gavel for four of them. Steny Hoyer rose to the post of second-highest ranking Democrat in 2003. Jim Clyburn secured the No. 3 leadership spot in 2007.”
It’s a little ironic the same media that’s so gleeful whenever there’s internal strife in Republican ranks has been reluctant to extend the same treatment to the minority party. It’s evident from the quotes in López’s article there is just as much unease among Democrats about their people in charge as there is with Republicans and their leadership; the usual “anonymous” sources ripped into Pelosi for her polarizing nature, lack of appeal to Trump-backing Democrat voters and her heavy-handed top-down leadership style.
Still, there are a plethora of Democrats who believe Pelosi would survive a potential leadership coup after November’s voting (win or lose), arguing Pelosi isn’t to blame for everything that’s wrong with the party and her leadership actually has been very effective over the years. I’m not sure which set of objective facts these people are using for analysis but there’s little doubting Pelosi and her inane sharp rhetoric has turned off a lot of Americans between the coasts.
Some of her loudest Democrat critics say Pelosi should exit even if the party retakes the majority — but how likely would it be for the head gal to gracefully bow out when she’d have the opportunity to preside over a promised impeachment effort of the hated Trump? Pelosi has nearly all the intangibles in her favor as well – continuing loyal support from a clear majority of her caucus in addition to the keys to the Democrat leaders’ treasury and fundraising apparatus.
Here’s speculating Pelosi will stay as long as Nancy wants to – and that’s at least two more years. Pelosi can buy all the support she requires and let’s face it, that’s what most Democrat congressman really care about.
There doesn’t appear to be a similar Democrat push for new leadership on the other side of Capitol Hill though Chuck Schumer will have been the head mouthpiece for the crackpot senate caucus for only a few years. Schumer is every bit as cantankerous and hostile to Republicans as Harry Reid was – so why would they need to change? Besides, too many Democrat senators are plotting to run for president to ever accept the lesser position of Minority Leader.
Notwithstanding the upcoming leadership battles there are still some who insist the outcome in this year’s elections is hardly a foregone conclusion. These few voices of skepticism deserve their due.
Republican consultant David Winston wrote at Roll Call, “Democrats are better positioned politically with history on their side. But, they also appear to have made the decision to not only oppose Republican policies but with a few exceptions, continue to offer either status quo policies or increasingly liberal offerings designed to placate the growing demands of their progressive base. Listening to their leadership and friends in the media, they don’t seem to have learned any lessons from the 2016 election or the 2010 election for that matter.
“It’s interesting to see Sen. Chuck Schumer position his caucus further out of the mainstream in contrast to his focus on recruiting clear centrist candidates as the head of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee in 2006. Back then, he pushed a pro-choice woman out of the Pennsylvania Senate Democratic primary race for a pro-life male candidate, current Sen. Bob Casey.
“Next November, the question voters will ask themselves is pretty simple. Do they feel they are getting the change they voted for? If the answer is yes, history doesn’t matter any more than it mattered in 2016.”
That’s the key to all of this pre-election speculation; with President Trump as the figurehead of the GOP we just can’t predict with any certainty how people will feel about the direction of the federal government so far in advance of Election Day. Realistically speaking we’re only at the halfway point of Trump’s first two years and already big changes are being made at the top.
For people who complained for years about stagnation in the Washington swamp they’re finally getting what they asked for — change. Even with Trump at the helm reform is slow but the objective measures of progress are almost all positive at this point in time. The economy is growing faster than it has this century and unemployment is the lowest it’s been in years. The recently passed tax cut hasn’t yet begun to kick in and people are feeling good about their prospects for the future.
Aside from Trump’s Twitter addiction there’s very little standing in the way of Republicans presenting a good case for maintaining their majorities in 2018. Party fundraising is healthy and although the generic congressional ballot looks horrible right now there’s more than enough time for the tide to reverse.
Unsettled conditions persist in the foreign sphere (primarily North Korea and Iran) but even here the U.S. is not entangled in any major war and Trump’s leadership seems to be producing positive results.
Let’s also remember Donald Trump’s name will not be on ballots this November. This could have both positive and negative connotations for Republican office seekers but for those in the GOP who favor center-right policies and yet can’t stomach Trump’s uniquely transparent personality, they’ll still have a stake in voting for the candidates who would cast votes irrespective of the Trump-generated controversy of the hour.
Trump could actually help deflect much of the negative attention away from party candidates. At the same time, it’s likely Trump will take as large a role in this fall’s campaign as he chooses and the president is no fool; wherever he believes he’ll be of assistance he’ll jump right in. For those jurisdictions where he’d hurt the GOP candidate’s chances, he’ll stay away.
But will the status quo defending establishment #NeverTrumpers come around? Who knows? David French wrote this week at National Review, “One of the most difficult intellectual and moral exercises of the last two years has been resisting Trump Derangement Syndrome — in either direction. All of the things that were important before Trump took office are still important today. Of course that includes policy and personnel. But it also includes knowledge, character, and temperament. These latter things do not become unimportant or trivial simply because they represent Trump’s unquestioned weaknesses.
“At the end of one year, my assessment of Trump’s presidency is simple: On policy, he’s been far better than I hoped. His temperament, however, has been worse than I feared. He’s been more malicious, more deceptive, and more destructively impulsive than I thought he’d be. These are vices that render him dangerous in a true crisis and make an already toxic political culture even more polarized and volatile…”
In other words, the true defenders of the ruling class still care a whole lot about style and fail to lend sufficient credence to the substance of what’s going on in today’s now partially drained Washington swamp. Similar to the leftist and Democrat “resistance” these folks gripe about the same Trump personality quirks they’ve been harping on since the New York billionaire entered politics – he’s loose with facts, unstable, untrustworthy in crisis, boorish, crude, disliked by foreign leaders…blah, blah, blah.
Invariably for anyone in the supposed sixty percent of Americans who don’t think he’s doing a good job any conversation concerning Trump devolves into a discussion of his non-policy realm. “I don’t like his tweets;” “He’s ticking off the Muslims with his insensitive rhetoric” and “He’s provoking Kim Jung-un for no reason…”
This week’s kerfuffle over former senior advisor Steve Bannon’s curiously intemperate anti-Trump family comments will only add to the stew though Trump is receiving token praise from some of his Republican doubters for cutting ties with Bannon.
Bannon’s and Trump’s noisy separation could impact the upcoming primaries but there are still plenty of credible anti-establishment groups promoting solid principled conservative candidates regardless of how folks now feel about the Breitbart publisher. Just to name one, there’s the Senate Conservatives Fund headed by Ken Cuccinelli (and founded by former Senator Jim DeMint) to turn to if you’re confused about which Republican senate hopeful to back in any particular contest.
Republicans aren’t stupid; like with Trump, Steve Bannon wasn’t going to be on any ballots this year either. Conservatives will still have good choices in most states. The establishment hasn’t won.
The possibility of regaining power and stopping President Trump ensures a steady stream of media reports concerning this year’s midterm elections. Trump’s statements remain the hot topic of discussion but congressional Republicans can better make their case by sticking to his winning agenda.
Reprinted with permission from ConservativeHQ.com.