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Monday, January 01, 2018

Playing the Trump card in the 2018 mid-terms

I will give it to readers straight.

History shows a president's first mid-term is tough on his party. In the past 18 presidencies, only FDR in 1934 and Bush in 2002 were able to gain seats in the House. And absent a depression and another 9/11, the odds favor Republicans losing the House.

Truman did, Eisenhower did, Clinton did, and Obama did.

The only reason Nixon, Ford, Reagan, and the first Bush didn't lose the House in their first mid-terms is they did not have a House to lose.

Americans favor split governments.

And the fears of losing go to the state level, where Republicans have swamped Democrats in the past decade.

Reid Wilson of the Hill summed up the situation:
Republicans fear deep losses in 2018 elections
After years of strong gains in states across the country, Republicans now fear they stand to lose hundreds of state legislative seats in next year’s midterm elections if there is a significant voter backlash against President Trump.
Any losses would come at the worst time: Just ahead of the redistricting process that begins with the 2020 census.
In interviews at a conference of state legislative leaders here, Republican legislators tasked with defending their majorities were uniformly worried that their party is headed for losses.
They blamed a variety of factors, including a tumultuous political environment, their party’s past success winning in Democrat-leaning territory and Trump’s dismal approval ratings.
“I think President Trump’s favorability ratings, I’ve got to be honest about it, they’re certainly not helpful,” said Robin Vos, the Republican Speaker of the Wisconsin Assembly. “If it were up to me, I would try to have him showcase more of the good things that he is doing as opposed to picking arguments with whoever it would be. I don’t think that’s helpful to me as an elected official.”
History and Trump seem to be working against Republicans, and indeed, control of the statehouses after the 2020 Census could set congressional control for a decade.

Democrats believe Trump is their best friend.

From David Lauter of the Los Angeles Times:
Throughout the year, opposition to Trump has generated energy among Democrats. But something new has been added to the mix in recent months, said Joe Trippi, the veteran Democratic consultant who served as media strategist for Doug Jones’ upset Senate election this month in Alabama.
“The sense of chaos, the constant fight, fight, fight and alarm bells going off all the time” has deeply troubled voters, including many who backed Trump last year, Trippi said. “There’s this sense of being on edge,” which Alabamians talked about frequently, Trippi said. “That’s what they don’t want anymore.”
Alabama’s election had unique aspects, notably the flaws of the Republican candidate, Roy Moore. But that same voter anxiety has come up repeatedly in focus groups around the country.
If a year of Trump has put voters in the mood for less confrontation, that poses a big challenge for Republicans.
“I don’t know how you stop Donald Trump from putting people on edge,” Trippi said. “That’s what he does.”
Face it, Trump is as polarizing a politician as Obama.

Unlike Obama, the press does not call you a racist if you oppose Trump. Indeed, the press calls you a racist if you support our duly elected president who won more states than anyone since 1988.

But in the voting booth, no one knows who you are.

President Trump has something going for him that Obama did not: the economy.

It looks like the GDP growth in Trump's first year will be 2.5% -- while the economy shrank 2.8% in Obama's first year, and grew 2.9% the next year (which turned out to be his best year).

Trump should rack up 3% growth quarters through November, giving him a string of six, which we have not seen in nearly 20 years.

The other advantage is Trump's signature achievements domestically are regulatory rollbacks and a tax cut. Both are economic development tools, which means Trump is doubling down on the economy.

Obama's were an $837 billion stimulus that failed, and an entitlement program -- Obamacare -- that actually hurt people by de-stabilizing health insurance, which sent deductions, co-payments, and premiums soaring.

So Obama was oh-for-two on his domestic programs.

While Trump is seen by the insipid press as being harmful down-ticket, the 2016 election showed the opposite. Republicans gained at the local and state levels.

Also, Republicans were 22-0 in the Senate races in the states Trump carried, but 0-12 in the states Hillary carried.

Pundits need to bear in mind that Donald Trump is just not like the other presidents.

He is the closest to altruism in the presidency that we will ever get again. He does not need the job. It actually costs him money. His paper losses this year alone are said to be $600 million.

Supporters see this, which is why the rules of politics do not apply to him.

The question in 2018 is not how hard Trump will hurt the party, but whether he can turn out the vote and save the party.

We shall see. I am betting one way, and hoping the other way.


Please enjoy my two books about the press and how it missed the rise of Donald Trump.

The first was "Trump the Press," which covered his nomination.

The second was "Trump the Establishment," which covered his election.

To order autographed copies, write

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As always, Make America Great Again.


  1. It's the economy, stupid".

    Happy New Year, Don.

  2. I think President Trump is smart enough to change his messaging and tone to impact the races.
    I think the election season will be more vicious than ever.
    I hope the public is smarter than My sister who still treats the 30 minute NBC evening news as her highlight of the day and cnn is infallible. She was shocked, shocked I tell you that I think the tax cuts are good. That she is a typical voter scares the living daylights out of me.

  3. The full effect of the recent tax cuts will be felt right about the time of the mid terms. Republicans should ask one question to voters: do you want someone who's vowed to raise your taxes (and remind them no democrat voted to reduce taxes) or do you want me? That may not fire up everyone, but it'll fire up a lot of people (me included).

  4. If any president can do it, Trump can. After all, he blew away all the conventional wisdom last year and set politics on its head. GO TRUMP!

  5. It isn't necessary to feel affection Trump to realize he's likely to be better for both the nation and the individual than any Democrat on offer.

  6. The media's Trump hate narrative can't be underestimated -- particularly since that has resulted in both the low polls (even if many who support Trump are afraid to say so out loud and so make the polls somewhat inaccurate because those denying the election are cheered by the polls and at least some who support Trump are afraid to say so) and the people are getting the fake headlines but not the corrections and walk-backs and I run into too many people repeating as fact the fake news stories CNN and others are making up.

    But, what we don't know is what the effect will be as, one can expect, the media has run lying negative stories every minute of their broadcasts for the next 10 months straight. Will the truth of the media lies come out? Will the public get so fed up they will want Trump to go away so the pain will stop? Will the media face ratings disasters that will change their narrative (or at least their lying)?

    And we do not know what other events will sidetrack the constant hate narrative. Iran? Korea? The economy? Will Mueller betray his party and wrap up the investigation before 2019? Will McConnell and Ryan work with the president and get more done? Will Ryan try to destroy the whole GOP by putting forward a bill to mess with Social Security?

    Lots good and/or bad can happen yet. All we know is the media and the antifa style Democrats can't control their hate and they will do anything, criminal or not, to "resist" and remake America into a thug driven banana republic where they are the only ones who are allowed to rule and intend to with iron fists. Can that motivate the Republican voters to resist the Democrats?

  7. 1. How the Republican Party polls matters more than how Trump polls.
    2. Polls meant almost nothing last year. Will they mean anything this year?
    3. The economy won't likely tank.
    4. If Trump keeps us out of some stupid war, he'll do better than most Republican presidents in mid term.
    5. If the Republicans use the immigration issue in a smart way, they can paint the democrats as wanting to take away everything being planned, like spending welfare money on illegals instead of infrastructure projects. The wall makes a comeback as an issue. Likely Trump has been holding onto this card. No better time to play it. It will keep seats we have, and we won't waste our time trying to pander to minorities in areas we won't win anyway.

  8. I thought voter backlash against Trump was going to give the House and Senate to the Democrats in 2016. It's hard to keep up........

  9. "Democrats believe Trump is their best friend." They don't have a friend in Hillary, that's for sure.

  10. "Do you vote for real world success, or fake news lies?"

    The good to great economy will be a big help to the Reps who focus on the reality of the economy, and the way the Dem media was lying about it.

    I predict the Reps keep the House, with a 20% chance of gaining at least one seat ,79% chance of losing at least one, and 45% chance of losing the House majority they have now.