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Opinion | Are the Democrats Blowing Their Midterm Momentum?

             6/17/2018

Nancy Pelosi

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

The election of Donald Trump in 2016 turned the United States political scene upside down. Since President Trump’s victory over the heavily favored Hillary Clinton, Trump’s approval rating has been consistently in the low to mid 40’s. It was considered a no-brainer that Democrats would easily take back Congress in November 2018.

However, the latest polls show that a once 13-point lead (as of December 2017) has been reduced to an approximately 3-point lead and a Democratic “blue wave” is at best a 50-50 shot. For almost a century and a half, the party in power loses approximately 30 seats in the House and two in the Senate. However, last week, political analyst Larry Sabato found 211 House seats leaning Republican and 198 leaning Democrats and 26 seats up for grabs. Even if they are split evenly, the Republicans still have a 224-211 majority. How have the Democrats failed to make ground as the midterm elections draw near?

Trump Derangement Syndrome

Democrats visceral hatred for President Trump is very real and a lot of it without logic or reason. Constant calls for impeachment, accusations of Trump being racist, sexist, and any other “ist” or “ism” that you could name, pushing the Mueller investigation as the next Watergate while all evidence seems to point to the Obama administration colluding with Russia, Stormy Daniels, etc. Net neutrality ends, Trump pulls out of the Paris Accord, Trump pulls out of a disastrous Iran deal and Democrats clamor that we are all going to die. It is getting increasingly difficult for voters to take mainstream media and Democrats seriously when any tweet, statement, or action taken by the President is considered to be a Hitler-like. A strong dislike for the President is not enough to woo voters.

Economy

In June 2016, approximately 32% of voters rated the economy as good or excellent. Today approximately 62% rate the economy as good or excellent. The growth rate in Obama’s last year in office was about 1.6 percent as opposed to current projections which are higher than 4%. While Trump is unpopular and has a knack for rubbing people the wrong way, voters may not want to return to the big government and slow growth economic policies that come with Democrats controlling the government.

Policy

This is where Democrats are failing to connect with American voters and are losing more and more voters as time goes on. The Democrats argued a Trump presidency would kill the economy. The exact opposite has happened empirically. Nancy Pelosi referring to the Trump tax cuts as crumbs did not sit well with those that are not worth somewhere in the neighborhood of 9 figures such as Mrs. Pelosi. Their unwillingness to reconsider alternative methods to fund social security, Medicare and Medicaid, (even though the fund is projected to go bankrupt in 2026) is not helpful. Bernie Sanders and other Democratic leaders are continuing to push Medicaid for all even though, back in 1987 that same Bernie Sanders warned that expanding this program to everyone in the nation would “bankrupt the nation” due to the country “spending such an astronomical sum of money…”. Democrats are consistently pushing for amnesty for illegal immigrants while failing to realize that a majority of their base, black and Hispanic voters, perceive immigration as too high and feel that same hinders their opportunities to find employment as many illegal immigrants take low or unskilled jobs from their communities. All of these policies are failing to excite the party except for the most loyal of Democrats.

Voter Apathy And Rise of The Third-Party Candidates

A recent poll by the USA Today and Suffolk University found that nearly two-thirds of Americans will be staying out of the voting booth for the 2018 elections, disillusioned by the promises of politicians and convinced that the system is completely corrupt. A majority of those non-voters would like to see a third party or multiple parties. The poll surveyed Americans who are not registered to vote or who are registered but say they are unlikely to cast a ballot. Combined, the two groups include more than 100 million adults. Furthermore, only 22 percent of those polled feel that Democrats or Republicans do a good job of representing American politician views. Disillusionment over politics crossing party lines and an increased number of voters starving for more choices at the ballot could contribute greatly to the blue wave completely fizzling out.

Notwithstanding the above, the mid-term elections are still five (5) months away and anything can happen between now and November 6, 2018. However, a once-sure victory for the Democrats has completely evaporated in a stunningly short period of time.

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