When Republicans are being honest (which isn’t often), they’ll tell you Donald Trump is a liability to the party, if not in the near term, then certainly over the longer haul.
Trump is in many ways the worst thing that ever happened to Republicans. His fiscal policies are the very opposite of responsible, his affinity for porn stars and Playboy models is the very opposite of “family values”, his foreign policies are dictator-friendly and his erratic behavior makes it impossible for the GOP establishment to get through a week without having to implicitly apologize for something the President has said or done.
Why support him, then? Well, because he’s rallied the Roseanne base and not supporting him is something akin to political suicide. It’s not so much that sane Republicans are proud to count uneducated racists and “deplorables” more generally as their constituents, but votes are votes, and you can’t very well implement a policy agenda if you don’t hold public office.
So, Republicans have taken a kind of “let’s just wait this out” approach. If they can stomach Trump for another two years, they’ll have their tax cuts and they’ll have the Supreme Court (the Kavanaugh debacle notwithstanding) and with any “luck” they’ll succeed in undermining Obamacare to the point where it has to be reworked to keep it viable.
To be clear, that’s a gamble, and an increasingly dangerous one at that. Trump is doing immeasurable harm to democracy, not just at home, but also abroad and he’s damaging America’s reputation among its closest allies. Chances are, the country will emerge unscathed thanks to the strength of America’s institutions and with any luck, Europe and Canada will forgive Washington once this national nightmare is over, especially considering Europe can sympathize with what it’s like to be the subject of a populist coup.
In light of the broader ramifications of backing Trump, it seems rather callous to focus on something as relatively trivial as the midterm elections. That is, the fate of Western democracy is on the line here, so what should be happening is that Democrats and Republicans should be coming together to marshal support for impeachment in the interest of rescuing the world from a man who isn’t even fit to manage a Waffle House, let alone a country.
(And you know, when you see Right-wing websites and news outlets disputing the idea that Trump is incompetent, ask them whether they’d let Trump run their businesses – they’ll say “yes”, but that little hesitation you’ll hear in their voice is a tacit admission that they know better).
But bipartisanship is a foreign concept inside the Beltway these days, so it’s left to the FBI and the DoJ to try and remove the cancer, while the people who should be handling the surgery (Congress) instead bicker with each other over the best way to treat the side effects.
That brings us to the midterms, where voters will get to decide which party presides over D.C. gridlock. If you’re wondering why even bother if gridlock is going to be the answer either way, you’re certainly not alone, but vote America will and if nothing else, it will be worth it just to see Trump rage tweet if the Democrats retake the House as expected.
One of Trump’s “strategies” (if that’s what you want to call them) ahead of November is to try and equate all Democrats with Nancy Pelosi, who Republicans imagine falls somewhere between Hitler and Sauron (from Lord Of The Rings) on the “Top 5 Scourges To Humanity” list.
Well, as it turns out, Nancy Pelosi is actually more popular than Trump among likely midterm voters. Specifically, when the midterms are framed as a “Pelosi versus Trump” referendum, voters choose Pelosi. Perhaps more disconcerting for the GOP, the disaggregated results show that Independents prefer Nancy over “The Donald”.
I can just hear the objections from Republicans now: “And just who conducted this hopelessly biased poll?!”
Well, Republicans, I’m glad you asked. Because the answer is … wait for it … the Republican National Committee.
See, here’s the thing, Bloomberg got its hands on the actual internal poll, and they not only published the results, but also a couple of screenshots. Here they are:
Given that, you might be asking yourself whether the RNC learned anything from that poll. That is, given the results, are they inclined to perhaps shift their strategy away from the anti-Pelosi focus and onto something else?
The answer, apparently, is no. “They may stick with the tried-and-true approach of attacking Pelosi—even though their own party’s poll shows her outperforming Trump”, Bloomberg writes, citing the same internal RNC poll.
Why? Why would Republicans stick with something that an internal study says isn’t working? Let’s go to Bloomberg one more time for the simple answer:
The alternatives are worse. The RNC survey finds that on a generic congressional ballot, voters favor the Democratic candidate by 9 points over the Republican.