President Trump’s triumphant SOTU address caused quite a buzz because he was not only presidential but spoke eloquently about unity and common cause. Much to my delight, the mainstream media is now a bit worried about this year’s midterms. Headlines warned that “Democrats Should Revise Their Hopes for 2018” and “Republicans see hope for midterms, despite Trump’s unpopularity.”
Having convinced themselves that Trump was incompetent, illiterate, and senile, Democrats and the mainstream media were as taken aback by the SOTU as the Congressional Black Caucus, who are caught forever on video refusing to celebrate historically-low black unemployment rates.
— CBS News (@CBSNews) January 31, 2018
The campaign ads write themselves.
Sadly for Democrats, President Trump was not a senile, illiterate boob spreading hate and division in his SOTU, an address viewed by 46 million Americans and the “most social” event of the evening (I heard that some B-list celebrities were doing something, but who knows what?).
As we move toward the 2018 midterms, Democrats are hobbling themselves with their message: A message that appears to be “hate Trump,” you know, because misogyny, racism, xenophobia, fascism. And stuff.
While not exactly inspiring or likely to stoke a single fire beyond their base, that message is considerably better than their real one: Illegals before Americans, open borders before national security, and a “blue wave” of support for the sale of baby parts to the highest bidder.
Is there anything more illuminating of the paucity of leftist values than a leftist such as MSNBC’s Joy Reid belittling patriotism and support for our military, religion, and family values? She sneers at the very things that make America great; importantly, she sneers at the things that Trump and middle America know make American great.
Welcome to the 2018 midterms. Americans get to decide if making America great again and being free to love and prioritize our country, religion, and family is important, or if it’s more important to extinguish these values in the name of socialist propaganda that promises an all-knowing benevolent government run by selfless leprechauns who grant wishes of wealth, health, and that 1948 Pobeda everyone covets but only the few get to push-start.
So what do the Democrats have going into 2018 midterms? A whole lot of busybodying and “hate Trump.”
This puts Republicans in a potentially historic moment. They can conceivably not only keep the House and Senate, but may actually pick up seats.
The RNC has a huge financial edge.
President Trump’s robust small-donor base helped the Republican National Committee vastly outraise its Democratic counterpart in 2017 as the two parties geared up for a crucial midterm campaign season, new Federal Election Commission filings show.
But Trump’s polarizing effect also helped buoy the two Democratic congressional committees, which pulled in more money than the GOP committees heading into the 2018 elections.
The RNC, the GOP House and Senate party committees and the two main Republican congressional super PACs together raised nearly $289 million in 2017, according to filings and news reports. Donations to the RNC made up nearly half of that total. And 44 percent of the $123 million raised by the RNC came from small-dollar contributions of less than $200.
The Democratic National Committee trailed far behind its Republican counterpart, raising $64.5 million in 2017. But the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee last year both outraised their respective GOP counterparts, the National Republican Senate Committee and the National Republican Congressional Committee.
In total, the three Democratic Party committees and two main Democratic congressional super PACs raised about $258 million in 2017, filings show.
Meanwhile, DNC coffers are echoingly empty.
There are signs of concern, however. The Cook Political Report has made ratings changes that favor Democrats in 21 House districts.
This week, we’re shifting our ratings in 21 races towards Democrats. If anything, that still understates Democrats’ potential in individual races. If Democrats win the national House vote by six points (as today’s polls indicate), House control would be a coin flip. But according to our new ratings, if each party were to win an even number of Toss Up races, Democrats would only win 13 or 14 seats — ten shy of the 24 they need.
Although many Republicans are battle-tested and have been readying for a difficult cycle for months, more than a handful who have never experienced this kind of political climate (i.e., they were elected after 2008) look woefully underprepared. For example, freshman Rep. Ted Budd (NC-13) was outraised nearly three-to-one by a first-time Democratic candidate in a district that includes a lot of suburbs of Greensboro.
. . . . If there’s a silver lining for Republicans in the latest data, it’s that Democrats haven’t yet taken maximum advantage of the climate and there are still a few holes on their recruitment board. Of the 95 districts Trump either won by less than 15 points or lost in 2016, there were 34 where no Democrat had at least $100,000 in the bank and 48 where no Democrat had more than $250,000 at the end of 2017.
This list includes two Clinton-won districts where Democrats have struggled to recruit against popular GOP incumbents: CA-21 (Rep. David Valadao) and NY-24 (Rep. John Katko). It also includes districts Trump won only narrowly, including those held by Reps. Mario Diaz-Balart (FL-25), Randy Hultgren (IL-14), Justin Amash (MI-03) and Kenny Marchant (TX-24).
. . . . The balance of evidence points towards a very wide — and mostly suburban — House battlefield with up to 75 GOP-held seats and fewer than 20 Democratic-held seats in play. At this point, we still view Democrats as ever-so-slight favorites to net at least 24 seats and win a majority, but it’s a much closer fight than it was in December, when Democrats held a wider lead in national polls.
Democrats have the House, and even the Senate, within their grasp, but it’s not clear that they will get it together sufficiently to make this happen.
In their pursuit of their unbending positions on things Americans simply don’t care about—such as every American baker being forced to bake a gay wedding cake—Democrats have made a laughingstock of themselves. Democrats have chosen an oppressive central government, open borders, and illegal aliens over American sovereignty, Constitutional liberty, and national defense. While the Democrats hitch their wagon to #MeToo, DREAMers, and a neutered, wealth-spreading U. S., Republicans are focusing on making America great again.
Indeed, poll numbers are improving for Republicans ahead of the 2018 midterms, but Republicans are still trailing by nine points.
If it felt like a tsunami was headed for Republicans at the end of the year, now it’s looking more like a normal wave. Under the radar, a flurry of new public polls points to incremental improvements in GOP fortunes and challenges the narrative that has been gelling in most of the media’s campaign coverage.
There has been a small but significant rise in President Trump’s approval rating over the past month and a shrinking Democratic advantage in the generic congressional ballot, which is moving closer to a level where Republicans could hold onto the House.
Growing support for the tax bill, enacted just before Christmas, is a major factor. The State of the Union and the government shutdown may have also helped.
A Quinnipiac University poll published Wednesday showed that a generic Democrat leads a generic Republican by nine points, down from 14 points in early December.
The National Journal sees the economy as the biggest hindrance to Democrats hoping to retake one or both house of Congress in November.
So short of a seismic event like another 9/11, what could deter a Democratic wave? I keep coming back to the economy: Does the economy continue to grow and at some point, might Trump begin to get more credit for that than he does now? Does he become less of a liability for Republicans?
Almost a month ago, a Gallup poll (taken Jan. 8-14) found that while 56 percent of Americans gave President Obama “a great deal” or a “moderate amount” of credit for this past year’s economic improvement, only 49 percent gave Trump similar credit. A newer Quinnipiac University poll (Feb. 2-5) found that 70 percent rated the state of the nation’s economy as either excellent or good, up from 66 percent in January, 63 percent in December, and 58 percent in November. When asked whom they believe to be more responsible for the current state of the economy, 48 percent chose Trump, and 41 percent said Obama. The two were tied on this question in last month’s poll.
I know as well as anyone the dangers in comparing results from nonidentical questions asked by different pollsters and, to be honest, have never been the biggest fan of Quinnipiac’s polling, but I do believe that this is an important dynamic to watch in the coming months. It should be added that in this Quinnipiac poll, even with this increased optimism about the economy and more credit given to Trump—and his job rating ticking up to 40 percent—the Republican Party’s favorable ratings were still minus-19 points (32 percent favorable, 51 percent unfavorable), compared to minus-12 for Democrats (35 percent favorable, 47 percent unfavorable). By a 9-point margin, 49 to 40 percent, Americans preferred Democrats to control the House.
Vice President Mike Pence is leading the way with his positive message for the 2018 midterms, a message designed to target middle-class and “blue wall Democrats” who voted for Trump in 2016.
Vice President Mike Pence is launching one of the most aggressive campaign strategies in recent White House history: he will hopscotch the country over the next three months, making nearly three dozen stops that could raise tens of millions of dollars for House and Senate Republicans, all while promoting the party’s legislative accomplishments.
If done right, Pence said in an exclusive interview with POLITICO backstage before his speech to the House and Senate GOP here Wednesday night, Republicans could expand their majority in both chambers.
“Elections are about choices,” he said in the interview in which he discussed his midterm outlook in detail for the first time. “If we frame that choice, I think we’re going to re-elect majorities in the House and the Senate and I actually think we’re going to, when all the dust settles after 2018, I think we’re going to have more Republicans in Congress in Washington, D.C., than where we started.”
The vice president’s team has devised a unique ancillary strategy to support his cross-country campaigning: partnering with America First Policies — a Trump-backed public-policy non-profit group designed to boost the president’s agenda — to hold public events designed specifically to discuss legislative achievements like the tax bill.
The goal is to have the group set up events to help voters understand what the White House sees as the upside of the Republicans’ legislative agenda. A senior administration official said Pence’s message at the events will provide a “blueprint for how to be successful in midterms.”
The most reliable politics newsletter.
In the interview, Pence vowed to take sharp aim at congressional Democrats in red states who oppose the president’s agenda. On Wednesday, he used a public event here to remind West Virginia voters that “Joe voted no” on tax cuts — a shot at Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.).
“As we travel around the country, whether it be a political event or an official event we’re going to make sure … the American people know that the agenda that we’re advancing is a result of partners on Capitol Hill and we’re going to thank the people that are helping us, and we’re going to make sure people know … what the other side looks like,” Pence said.
Pence said he would campaign against Sen. Joe Donnelly, an Indiana Democrat he served with in the House.
“I expect we’re going to spend a fair amount of time in the states that the president carried very strongly — Indiana being one of them, West Virginia here being another, places like Montana, elsewhere around the country, we think represent a real opportunity for us,” Pence said.
Even Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) argues that new life has been breathed into the GOP.
House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) told Senate and House Republicans here that the midterm elections were beginning to tilt the GOP’s way after bottoming out in December, and that the House is not lost, according to a half-dozen attendees during a rare joint House and Senate GOP session at the party’s bicameral retreat. Using a slick PowerPoint presentation, Ryan attributed the Republicans’ comeback to the recently passed tax changes and said there is a path to keeping the House in GOP hands, citing polls that show big Democratic leads in the congressional ballot eroding.
It’s “looking much better than horrible numbers last month,” one attendee said.
Indeed, Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) concluded that the tax bill had reversed the GOP’s flagging fortunes ahead of the critical midterm elections. If Republicans lose either the House or Senate, Trump could face impeachment threats and difficult confirmation battles for the rest of his presidency.
The impeachment question is a big one for Republican voters this year. There is a contingent of right-leaning voters who insist on ideological purity, who won’t vote for a “RINO” or “GOPe” candidate and will actively fight against such choices. To them I say, learn from the Tea Party, understand the legislative process, and understand that President Trump can’t drain a swamp that is swimming with a Democrat majority busily invoking articles of impeachment.DONATE
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