I’ve been talking up the possibility that the hot mess of the Trump presidency could be the secret sauce that allows Democrats to buck an unfavorable 2018 midterm election map and retake the Senate. After all, they only need to regain three seats to overcome a vice presidential tie-breaking vote. But believe it or not, the Dem’s best chance might be in the Tea Party-steeped House, with its “healthy” GOP majority.
I’m happy to note that my state, California, could play an outsize role.
Coincidentally, Democrats need to retake 24 seats in the House–the exact same number of seats currently held by Republicans in states Hillary Clinton won. Of course, there are also 12 Democratic seats up for grabs in states won by Trump.
The question remains which groups will vote to remove their current representative in the 2018 election. Incumbency is incredibly powerful. Still, presidents — even popular ones — historically tend to lose seats in their midterm election.
And Donald Trump is already unpopular enough to possibly endanger the Republican majority according to FiveThirtyEight.
However, a countervailing pattern is that Democrats tend not to turn out for midterm elections. I have to get my nails done. It’s a bad hair day. I just don’t feel like it. Whatever.
Republicans, who tend to be older, show up and vote. Witness the 2010 and 2012 Tea Party waves.
But so far liberals are fired up and ready to go. This may well be another trend Democrats could buck in 2018. They’ve been flooding Republican town halls…at least the ones that haven’t been cancelled. And, no, they aren’t all paid, astroturf crowds shipped in, no doubt, by the same busses that supposedly hauled illegal voters on November 8.
Republican legislators are nervously vowing to stand up to their party’s standard bearer and contradicting their own past statements in vain attempts at appeasement.
Trump is in the midst of unprecedented unpopularity. A majority of voters, including independants, are embarrassed by the president. And he’s only been in office for a month. For the Trump administration, it’s the honeymoon from Hell.
The left will have to fight the temptation to shoot down the very moderate-t0-conservative Democrats in red and purple states we’ll need to retake congress. That’s what the Tea Party zealots did against insufficiently hardline conservatives.
Indeed, it’s heartening to read that Bernie Sanders ally Sen. Jeff Merkley has said that these Dems are perfectly suited to their states.
Midterm Election: A Chance to Turn the Tide…If We Don’t Blow It
Liberals need to be smart, focused, and strategic, a policy that has paid dividends many times over for Mitch McConnell. And that’s why we’re better off with a patently unsuitable president than someone who on the surface looks sane (if you don’t look too hard). If Trump is impeached, none of the advantages I’ve listed would be operative.
We need Trump in place, as terrifying as it is to contemplate. President Tantrum is a continual embarrassment and oozing wound to the Republican brand. Yet, my posts pleading for long-term strategic thinking among liberals usually elicit forceful rejections.
Hell, there are still people who are angry at Sarah Silverman for telling the disruptive Bernie supporters at the Democratic Convention to grow up. And they refuse to forgive Bernie himself for his full-throated support for Hillary Clinton.
I bet those who voted for a third party candidate or stayed home on November 8 are proud of the results of their ideological purity. (Though, of course, what happened was far more complex than lost liberal votes.)
We have a president with the mentality of a spoiled toddler; somebody has to be the grown up in the room.
Do we really want to take a page from the Tea Party’s playbook and turn on our own in a midterm election circular firing squad? A little-known Tea Partier defeated the very conservative Eric Cantor — second in command of the congressional Republicans — for, horror of horrors, occasionally engaging in political compromise.
You know, the way politics have been run for the past 238 years. Is that really what we want?
Fortunately, for the most part, liberals and #resist movement activists are resisting such zealotry. We don’t want to turn the Undivided playbook into an ironic moniker.
Liberals should leave purity culture to the Religious Right.
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