Looking at the Political Field

Our Democrat and Never Trump friends are giving out squeals of joy over the results from Virginia – it is the harbinger of Trump Doom. Forget it. It’s over. Trump is toast. Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Schumer, here we come…and if Trump doesn’t get impeached after that, then President Kamala Harris will fix all he’s done.

I don’t know. To be sure, the GOP took a shellacking in Virginia – the Democrats seem to have worked out a killer plan to flip State legislative seats where they voted Hillary in 2016, the Democrat candidate for governor benefited greatly from that. OTOH, there are still some seats out there held by Democrats but Trump won the district in 2016…so, the GOP can play the same game. Not as effectively, of course, because given how well the GOP did at the State level the previous 8 years, there’s not a lot left for them to grab. And that is where my mind is going – this is just part of an expected snap-back. A good election cycle doesn’t mean a party is going anywhere. The GOP picked up 81 House seats in the ’38 midterms and it meant absolutely nothing…just a blip in the Democrats 60 year stranglehold on American politics.

What I can’t see is people being so disappointed in Trump that they’d return to power people like Pelosi and Schumer…or anyone like them. It could happen, of course, but I just don’t think it will. As I wrote last year, given that this will be Trump’s first midterm, the cards are stacked against the GOP…only the vast number of Democrats up for re-election makes the Senate pretty secure, while the House actually should be reachable by the Democrats. The Democrats need a net gain of 24 in the House to take a bare majority. There are 23 House seats won by GOPers but which voted Hillary in 2016; there are 12 House seats won by Democrats but which voted Trump in 2016. Only in 3 or 4 of each batch, however, was the Presidential margin a lot larger than the Congressional margin. Outside of a wave election for the Democrats, I think it comes out a wash…with maybe the Democrats netting 4 or 5 House seats.

Without a doubt, the 2018 midterms will be nationalized – the usual caveat that all politics is local will be highly attenuated next year. The United States is deeply divided on partisan lines. The GOP base – especially the Trumpster part of it – is deeply disappointed in the Congressional GOP. But I think that will manifest itself in more primary challenges…and more RINOs deciding to retire. When push comes to shove, the GOP base – and especially the Trumpster part of it – knows that it is political suicide to flip a lot of seats over to the Democrats. Not only will Trump’s agenda grind to a complete halt, but the whole purpose of the Democrat majority would be to go on scandal hunts to try and bring Trump down. The Democrat base is also very much fired up – they hate Trump with a white-hot passion. But my thinking is that the Democrat base is now, for the first time since the 1920’s, smaller than the GOP base. This follows a trend which has been going on for more than 30 years as everyone who isn’t a flat-out Progressive grows increasingly dismayed with the Democrat party. There was no way the old line GOP was ever going to get these people with any sort of consistency…but Trump, I think, can and will.

And that, in the end, is why I think 2018 will be good for the GOP…and good for America. The election will be nationalized, courtesy of the Democrats, and Trump will be able to hit the hustings proclaiming himself besieged by people who want to stop Making America Great Again. With the lower overall turnout always found in midterm years, I think the now-larger GOP base, fired up by Trump, will prevail. I could be wrong, of course; we’ll see. But I look to the future with calm confidence.