At this point, it’s pretty clear that Republicans are pondering the worst case scenario for the midterms. And, as it turns out, so is Donald Trump.
Last Thursday, the President told Fox what he imagines would happen to the U.S. stock market in the event he were impeached. Specifically, Trump predicts “you’ll all be very poor” if he ends up getting himself thrown out of office.
That’s just the kind of inspirational, selfless message you’d expect from a man who, on Saturday, actually went on Instagram and posted a picture of himself next to a statement ostensibly meant to commemorate deceased Senator John McCain. Just look at this and bear in mind that it’s real – this is a real thing Trump did over the weekend:
In the course of documenting Trump’s farcical interview with Fox (the one mentioned above), we reminded you about comments Devin Nunes made at a July 30 fundraiser in Spokane, where he was secretly taped by a progressive organization called Fuse Washington that apparently paid for entry. If you missed it, here’s what Nunes said:
Yes, “we’re the only ones”. And if last week was any indication, Trump is going to be implicated in a list of crimes so long by the time November rolls around that mounting a plausible argument as to why he should be allowed to stay in the Oval Office will be well nigh impossible. Rudy Giuliani knows this too.
On Sunday evening, Axios was out with an exclusive look at what they say is “a spreadsheet circulating through Republican circles on and off Capitol Hill” that lists all the various investigations the GOP expects in the event Democrats retake the House. Axios calls this Republicans’ “coming hell”. Here’s the list:
- President Trump’s tax returns
- Trump family businesses — and whether they comply with the Constitution’s emoluments clause, including the Chinese trademark grant to the Trump Organization
- Trump’s dealings with Russia, including the president’s preparation for his meeting with Vladimir Putin
- The payment to Stephanie Clifford — a.k.a. Stormy Daniels
- James Comey’s firing
- Trump’s firing of U.S. attorneys
- Trump’s proposed transgender ban for the military
- Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin’s business dealings
- White House staff’s personal email use
- Cabinet secretary travel, office expenses, and other misused perks
- Discussion of classified information at Mar-a-Lago
- Jared Kushner’s ethics law compliance
- Dismissal of members of the EPA board of scientific counselors
- The travel ban
- Family separation policy
- Hurricane response in Puerto Rico
- Election security and hacking attempts
- White House security clearances
Nothing good about that if you’re the President.
In light of the above, it’s probably worth highlighting a few excerpts and visuals from a new Goldman note that’s framed as a Q&A on the midterms.
The bank begins by asking the obvious question which is: What is the most likely outcome? Here’s their take:
We agree with the consensus view that Democrats are more likely to win the House majority but that Republicans will retain the Senate. Prediction markets show only a 36% probability that Republicans maintain control of the House but a 76% chance that they maintain their Senate majority (Exhibit 1). While this outcome has been our base case since the start of 2018, we note that as the numbers stand today, the House majority still looks like a fairly close call.
Goldman goes on to note that the most recent generic ballot polling shows a 7pp Democratic advantage. Ominously, the polls in question were conducted prior to last week when Michael Cohen pleaded guilty, Paul Manafort was convicted and Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg was granted immunity by federal prosecutors.
So what does this mean for the House majority? According to Goldman, it means this:
There are several ways to estimate the potential gain based on the generic ballot. Most simply, we can look at the relationship between prior generic ballots and the midterm popular vote. A generic ballot margin of -7pp for the president’s party has historically been associated with a loss of around 25 seats, i.e., just above the minimum 23 net gain the Democrats need to win the majority (left panel of Exhibit 4), or around 185 seats (a 55-seat loss from the current level) when estimating the level rather than the change (right panel of Exhibit 4).
Of course Democrats are far less likely to retake the Senate. “The basic story in the Senate is unchanged: Democrats have 10 seats up for reelection in states that President Trump won, while Republicans have only one seat up in a state that Clinton won”, Goldman reminds you.
Irrespective of what happens in the Senate, a flipped House would be bad news for Trump, his family and his associates. Given the Axios report mentioned above, you might be asking yourself whether the White House is prepared to handle what might be coming down the pike if the House does indeed flip. In a word, the answer is: “No”. In two words, the answer is: “Definitely not”.
On that note, we’ll leave you with Jonathan Swan’s take:
If the House flips, the GOP loses its power to stymie. Lawyers close to the White House tell me the Trump administration is nowhere near prepared for the investigatory onslaught that awaits them, and they consider it among the greatest threats to his presidency.