The GOP has been showing a less than unified front as we move towards marking Trump’s first hundred days in office, which will lead to considerable speculation in the short term about whether they can hold onto their majorities in the House and Senate in 2018.
With Trump’s approval rating in the mid 30s prior to getting an artificial boost by blowing up stuff, a sure winner with the American electorate, Democrats are getting very excited about what might be possible. Add to that the ineffectiveness of the Republican caucus and things could change rapidly.
It’s true that the Syria bombings have pushed the investigations of possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Moscow off the front pages, but those stories will be back, and Trump will start tweeting again or saying stupid things again to remind voters that his occasional “presidential moments” are fleeting.
The special elections on the horizon to fill seats vacated by Trump appointees may give Democrats a sense of the kind of strength they can expect down the road. Even if there are no pick-ups, the money raised and enthusiasm evident is a good omen.
With the challenges created by redistricting and the large seat differential, especially in the House, Democrats would be wise to curb their enthusiasm, but let them hope. The president’s party usually gets whacked in the mid-terms, and 2018 looks like it will be no different.
All the polls told us that the 2016 presidential election was for many an exercise of picking between bad options. In 2018 voters get to wrap Trump on the knuckles without electing Hillary Clinton in the process, a bonus.
As we approach five special elections, Democrats need 24 seats to flip the House. Early days, but it’s hard to imagine Trump’s approval rating climbing much over 40%, given what we have seen so far. If it’s near that or below on Election Day 2018, Democrats could surprise.
Add to that the likelihood that Trump had no magic plan to create jobs in distressed sectors, that his Obamacare replacement is a joke, that tax reform will be difficult to get through Congress, that a big spending program on infrastructure may never happen, that his team of neophytes have no idea how to conduct international relations, and that he might never be able to build the wall, and you have one stinking mess of a failed presidency.
It’s an awful lot of fun speculating about how poorly Trump and Republicans will do in upcoming elections, though it’s all a guess.
I’d also guess that the old hands in the GOP don’t care to think about the shape they’ll be in down the road, as much as the present must be giving them reason to smile.