It is probably too early to devote much thought to the midterms, and certainly too soon to worry about 2020. But who can resist? Two pollsters strike an optimistic note:
President Trump is “well-positioned” for re-election in 2020 and is keeping his base of supporters together strongly enough to lift the Republican Party’s chances in the upcoming 2018 midterm elections, according to two pollsters close to the White House.
“I think he is in good shape,” said Anne Sorock, a national political researcher and executive director of the Frontier Lab’s Ear to the Ground Listening Project.
“Trump will be well-positioned for the 2020 election,” added the president’s 2016 pollster, John McLaughlin.
Trump has two big things going for him: he is compiling a very good record, and he gets to run against a Democrat. The Democrats are so tone-deaf, as a party, that they genuinely did not realize that in Hillary Clinton, they were nominating a uniquely terrible presidential candidate. If they were smart, they would nominate someone next time who can compete with Trump’s populist appeal. But they don’t have anyone like that, and if they did, he could never get the nomination.
The current betting favorite is Kamala Harris, a California leftist with little track record. In that, she resembles Barack Obama. If you think that identity politics rule the day, Harris, an African-American woman, would be a great candidate. But if identity politics ruled the day, Hillary Clinton would be president.
The Democrats have another problem, too: cracks are appearing in the wall that has kept African-Americans on their plantation. Led by Candace Owens and Kanye West–who so far, at least, is standing up against extraordinary pressure–a wave of independent thinking is flowing through the black community. This, the Democrats can’t tolerate. Their electoral calculations count on getting a ridiculous percentage of African-American votes–something like 90%. But that is an absurd, unnatural number. A party that wins a demographic group 60/40 is doing very well. To win 80% or 90%, cycle after cycle, defies gravity. It can’t continue.
The Democrats try to keep their plantation wall intact by generating ever more hysteria. Joe Biden’s insane claim that Republicans want to put African-Americans back in chains is emblematic. This sort of nonsense is patently a rear-guard action, and there is every reason to expect that by 2020, independent thinking will be more common, especially since a lot of African-Americans like Trump’s brashness, sympathize with his outsider status and the over-the-top attacks to which he is constantly subjected, and appreciate the fact that he is focused on job creation and reducing low-wage competition via immigration.
In the meantime, of course, we have the midterms:
Both Sorock and McLaughlin said Trump’s strong standing among conservatives and Republicans, a majority of whom see him as their “leader,” is helping the GOP’s chances of maintaining control of the House and Senate.
“This is the party of Trump,” said McLaughlin, who, with his brother, polls for nearly two dozen Republicans. “A lot of Republican insiders will tell you, ‘Oh, Trump is going to hurt us, Trump’s upside down [in polling.] I’m like, ‘Look at the approval/disapproval rating of the Republican majority in Congress. Trump’s holding you guys up.”
Sorock, who just released a poll done for her group by McLaughlin showing vast support on both sides of the aisle for Trump’s call to “drain the swamp,” said Republicans had better follow suit or be doomed in the election. Sorock said one of the major takeaways from the survey was that “the path to the majority for the Republicans is cleaning the swamp.”
In general, I think it is foolish for Republican Congressional candidates to run away from the president. Virtually no Republican voters want such a tactic, and very few anti-Trump Democrats and independents who turn out largely because they hate the president will be mollified. And it is unnecessary, except perhaps as a matter of style: the Republicans’ major domestic achievement, tax cuts, is popular, and Trump is easy to defend when it comes to foreign policy.
That said, the Democrats may well take the House in November, simply because, by historical standards, they need so few seats. But come 2020? Happy days are here again!