Saturday, February 03, 2018
You're reading this, so you probably follow political punditry. And if you follow political punditry, you've been hearing the usual corporate suspects predict that one of two things will happen in this fall's midterm elections: either the Democrats will win big (win back the Senate), or they'll win really big (the House, too). Outta the way, Congressional Republicans: here comes the Big Blue Wave!
Of course, these are the same clowns who called it big for President Hillary. Yet on and on they yammer, and we have to listen to them since big-money political media won't hire anyone who has a clue.
Interestingly, there are early warning signs -- just as there were throughout the 2016 presidential race -- that Democrats may be counting their electoral chickens before they're aborted.
"The Democratic advantage on the generic congressional ballot, which asks people whether they'll vote for Democrats or Republicans for Congress, has dwindled since the heart of the tax debate in December," Nate Cohn reports in The New York Times. "Then, nearly all surveys put Republicans behind by double digits. Now, poll averages put the Democratic lead at only around six or seven percentage points...the last two weeks of polls have gone further than a reversion to the mean. They're arguably the best two weeks of polls for Republicans since the failure of the Senate health care bill in July. A highly sensitive poll average -- like the FiveThirtyEight tracker -- might put the Democratic lead down to roughly six points, basically the lowest level since the spring."
As Cohn notes, there are nine long months to go before November. Things can and will change. Historically, the party in power usually gets "shellacked" during midterm elections. Democrats hope that voters will punish GOP senators and representatives as proxies for their party's incredibly unpopular standardbearer.
People hate Trump. Yet Democrats have good cause for concern. Americans vote their pocketbooks, and their wallets are feeling better than they have in a long time.Unemployment hasn't been this low since 9/11 -- to the point that employers are complaining about labor shortages. Consumer confidence hasn't been this high since Bill Clinton was president. Most people don't own stocks, but the Dow is soaring -- and that's usually better for jobs than the other way around. Fuel prices have been lower. Like it or not (I don't), the GOP's tax bill is becoming more popular.
Given what a turd Trump is, you'd think the booming economy might not be enough to keep voters from turning out against incumbent Republicans this fall. But you'd be forgetting the Democratic Party's inimitable talent for snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.
The Democrats are still hobbled by the same internal divisions that led to Clinton's defeat. The Bernie progressives have the energy and the momentum but the DNC is still under the Clintonista jackboot. In most Republican districts, the Democratic challenger is a corporate right-winger Bernie's peeps won't care enough to drag themselves to the polls on a rainy Tuesday in November. A lot of them (women, people of color) play to identity politics over class-based populism -- that was a loser in 2016, and it could easily bomb again this year.
The biggest issue for the Democrats is their lack of issues or, more precisely, their lack of a coherent platform of policies with which to unify scores of local campaigns into a national referendum, as Newt Gingrich did for the GOP with his Contract for America in 1994.
What would the Dems do if they got their sweep? No one knows.
Would they impeach Trump? They're not saying.
Would they repeal the Trump tax law? Probably not (but they should say they would).
Would Democrats push for a higher minimum wage? A national abortion-rights bill? Cutting back NSA surveillance? Bringing back troops from Afghanistan and Iraq? Closing Gitmo? Probably none of the above -- so why would left-of-center voters get excited about more of the same?
Democrats aren't promising anything. Voters may take them at their word -- and let the Republicans keep on keeping on.
Ted Rall (Twitter: @tedrall) is co-author, with Harmon Leon, of "Meet the Deplorables: Infiltrating Trump America," an inside look at the American far right, out now. You can support Ted's hard-hitting political cartoons and columns and see his work first by sponsoring his work on Patreon.
COPYRIGHT 2018 CREATORS.COM
See Other Political Commentaries.
See Other Commentaries by Ted Rall.
Views expressed in this column are those of the author, not those of Rasmussen Reports. Comments about this content should be directed to the author or syndicate.
Rasmussen Reports is a media company specializing in the collection, publication and distribution of public opinion information.
We conduct public opinion polls on a variety of topics to inform our audience on events in the news and other topics of interest. To ensure editorial control and independence, we pay for the polls ourselves and generate revenue through the sale of subscriptions, sponsorships, and advertising. Nightly polling on politics, business and lifestyle topics provides the content to update the Rasmussen Reports web site many times each day. If it's in the news, it's in our polls. Additionally, the data drives a daily update newsletter and various media outlets across the country.
Some information, including the Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll and commentaries are available for free to the general public. Subscriptions are available for $4.95 a month or 34.95 a year that provide subscribers with exclusive access to more than 20 stories per week on upcoming elections, consumer confidence, and issues that affect us all. For those who are really into the numbers, Platinum Members can review demographic crosstabs and a full history of our data.
To learn more about our methodology, click here.