Everybody says November is a long time away, but didn’t we just inaugurate this orange whip topped buffoon yesterday? Tempus does fugit quickly these days, so we better all get ready. I wrote an article about a week or so ago in which I posited that in the Age of Trump, polls are not necessarily a great indicator of the way things are going to go. There are three reasons why I think that the coming blue wave of November is not only alive and well, but eating its Wheaties. I’ll go through them one at a time.
Motivation And Momentum
It was all very nice to see that on January 21, 2017, millions of people, predominately women, gather on the streets to protest the elevation of the nations first self admitted serial sexual assaulter to the highest post in the land. But, at the time, it was pointed out that the problem was going to be momentum. After all, November of 2018 was 22 months off, and people do have actual lives of their own, and the fear was that those daily events would sap the energy and intensity of that initial outrage.
So much for that codswallop. And we have The Tiny Thumbs Diktator himself to thank. Trump literally is the gift that keeps on giving. No matter what things may come up day to day in your own life, Trump just seems to have a way of topping them, and keeping you focused. First there was the Muslim ban, parts one and two, that brought people to the streets. Then the wall, and then obliterating Obamacare. Then it was pulling out of the Paris climate accord, followed shortly thereafter by the tax giveaway to the uber rich. And now, it’s the insidious policy of separating young children from their parents at the border, a policy that only the goose steppers and bed sheet models support.
And over it all hangs the pall of the Mussoliniesque arrogance of Glorious Bleater himself, the unquenchable need to double down, and grind peoples noses in it. Trump even managed to take a mass school shooting, which historically provokes outrage for a week or less, followed by recriminations about inactivity, before fading from the scene. But Trump’s apparent lack of empathy, combined with his vocal support for the NRA in the aftermath, created a national issue that is motivating young voters who as a rule don’t tune into politics as an outlet.
But most importantly of all, success breeds enthusiasm, and the movement is having success, which is promoting and fueling activism. The courts struck down the travel ban, furious phone calls, town hall protests, and home office takeovers killed the repeal of Obamacare. The courts have stopped Sessions’ efforts to strip sanctuary cities of funding. Surprise upset wins in Alabama and PA-18. The stunning gains in the VA legislature last year, leading to the VA assembly finally passing the Medicaid expansion. This movement has stayed strong for 17 months now, in some ways grown stronger, and I see no reason for it to dwindle in the next five months.
And one last thing on enthusiasm. You can already see it. Not counting Alabama and PA-18, Democrats have shaved an average of 15 points off of GOP win totals in the special elections held last year, almost all of them in deep red districts. And in those special elections, the VA legislative races, as well as the early primaries this year, Democratic turnout is closing in on, and occasionally surpassing turnout for a regular election. People are psyched, and the finish lline is in sight.
First of all, the Democratic candidates. One of the main gripes perennially that the Democrats have is the lack of candidates. In some ways, this is the fault of the party itself. The party has chosen to cede certain districts as being “unwinnable,” not even bothering to recruit candidates, and not supporting candidates that step up to run. This meant reelecting repulsive GOP incumbents over and over again, not because they were unbeatable, but because we weren’t even trying.
Not anymore. Suddenly the party has a surplus of enthusiastic candidates on it’s hands. Part of the success in Virginia last year was that almost every slot on the ballot was filled, and when given an actual choice, people responded for change. if I read correctly, every single slot on the Texas legislative ballot is filled with a Democrat this year. The days of the free ride for GOP incumbents are over, and the results are already starting to show, five months before the election, by retirements among long entrenched GOP incumbents.
In some cases, the candidates are winning not because of the party, but in spite of it.
Everyday, ordinary people are handily defeating Democratic party hand picked candidates. In at least one case, the national party came out against a candidate, opposing her as unwinnable, and she went on to the runoff. And in cases where the state and national parties are stingy about supporting these candidates, small money donations are kicking into overdrive. In Virginia last year, there were many first time candidates on the Democratic side that were outspending their entrenched, long time GOP incumbents by three and four to one.
The secret sauce for these candidates is the candidates themselves. These are not career politicians. They don’t pick an office to run for, campaign, and then, if they lose, pick another office to run for in two years. These are doctors, teachers, real estate agents, and nurses. They have lives and jobs. And if they’re going to drop everything to run for office, then they are goddamned well going to give it all they got. And the enthusiasm is contagious. They are successful because they run on local issues, which they live with every day, and which the people they’re talking to live with every day too.
If people are saying that 2018 is going to be “The Year Of The Woman,” then the Democrats are spectacularly placed. Of the 15 seats we flipped in Virginia last year, 12 of them were flipped by women. We had two women vying for Governor in Georgia. There are going to be a record number of women on the ballot nationwide this year, and the vast majority of the are going to be Democrats. And in a year where the leader of the opposition party is a sexist pig, and most of the opposition candidates are male enablers of said exist pig, the table is set.
Now, for the Republican candidates. They are in the hurt locker, and they know it. You can tell that they know it by the extremely high number of long time incumbents that are bailing on their seats, rather than face having to fight the tide that is against them. GOP candidates are facing an unsolvable dichotomy here. Either heartily endorse and parrot Trump to gain his voters support, and risk losing sane, moderate GOP voters and independents, or woo sane voters, and risk having the Trump base sit it out. Personally, I’d go for sane voters, it is my firm belief that Trump voters are motivated solely by Trump, and won’t bother to show up when his name doesn’t top the ballot.
Quite a few GOP incumbents face a problem that they haven’t had to face in the past. Ring rust. Virginia shone the spotlight brightly on this problem for GOP incumbents last year. Many of them had spent cycle after cycle either running unopposed, or running against “sacrificial lamb” opposition. They have grown fat and lazy. Their normal election cycle consists of collecting campaign contribution booty from business interests, putting up a few billboards and running a few ads, and penning their victory speech. They are facing motivated, well funded, enthusiastic opposition, who are well versed on local issues. Much more so than the incumbent, who hasn’t listened to a constituent who hasn’t led off the conversation by putting a check on the desk since Christ was a carpenter.I don’t think that sea slugs like Trey Gowdy and Darrell Issa are retiring because they are tired of the travel arrangements. And the ones who choose to stay and fight are in for the fight of their lives. They can just ask Roy Moore, Ed Gillespie, and Rick Saccone about that one.
The Democrat’s Secret Weapon
It’s true. As if things weren’t already leaning very nicely in the Democrat’s direction, they have a secret weapon at their disposal heading into the November election. And the secret weapon is none other than The Day Glo Two Legged Stool himself! It’s true, the Trumpmeister is all in on 2018!
Ever since he conned the Russians into buying him the electoral college, Trump has crowned himself a political savant. Yeah, if you consider Karl Rove in his last couple of cycles a political savant. Rove had literally hundreds of millions to play with in the last couple of cycles he dabbled in, and provided something like a 0.0034 return on investment for the cash.
Actually, Trumpelthinskin has a point. So far he has backed, Luther Strange, Roy Moore, Ed Gillespie, and Rick Saccone, so his record is pretty much unblemished. Trump has already announced that he is going to be very hands on in this cycle, and not just with endorsements and robocalls, shit like that. He’s going to be hitting the road. And not just in easy peasy districts either, he’s going to be showing up to put incumbents and candidates in critical districts over the finish line. A little while ago, the White House announced that he planned to hit the road bi-weekly, if not weekly later in the campaign to support candidates.
If I weren’t such a sick, sadistic, vindictive bastard, I could almost feel sorry for these poor GOP candidates. In most cases, the only reason that they are in such life and death situations is because of him! Everything was running like a Swiss watch until he showed up and threw sand in the gears. And now he wants to come over and bail you out of a mess that he created.
What does a candidate in a truly vulnerable district do when this happens? You go into it knowing that he’s going to pimp himself for an hour, mentioning your name a maximum of twice, which actually might be a good thing. And if the President decides to hold a rally for you in your district, you can’t just tell him to pound sand. What do you do? If you show up, and stand next to him, you’re covered in his stench for the rest of the campaign. And if you don’t show up, then you’re an ungrateful bastard, and Trump supporters want to ride oyou out of town on a rail. It’s like being forced to choose between being stabbed, or being garroted. It would be one thing if Trump were showing up somewhere like MS-13 (pun intended), but he’s planning on going to districts where he’s most toxic, just to show what a great closer he is. With friends like these, who needs enemas?
So, that’s my story, and I’m sticking to it. There are indeed five months left before election day, and a lot can happen. But, if recent history has shown us anything, it’s that whatever happens is most likely going to be devastating for Republicans. Like for instance, if the retaliatory trade tariffs of the Chinese, Europeans, Canadians, and Mexicans go into effect, and consumer prices start to rise, as well as oil prices for leaving the Iran deal. That should go over about as well in Cotton Ball MS and and Twister Alley AR as it does in New York City. Keep punching, and keep the faith.