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Opinion | Republicans Should not let Their Guard Down

             6/10/2018

Senate Republicans

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

The midterm elections are rapidly approaching, and the “blue wave” that was once a guarantee to retake the House has lately dwindled. This has caused a variety of conservative pundits to falsely claim that Republicans have an increased advantage in the upcoming midterms, despite lagging polling numbers. President Trump and Republicans are campaigning with the utmost rigor, as the threat of a House controlled by Democrats would completely neutralize Trump’s ability to have a single legislative victory in 2019 and 2020. With the knowledge and pessimism that the Democratic Party has an advantage, the Trump Administration is moving to pass immigration reform before the midterm elections, causing speculation that he will incite a second government shutdown. On the other hand, Democrats continue to campaign on the issues that are inconsequential to Trump and Republicans. The harsh rhetoric on impeachment, Russia, and gun reform may be responsible for alarming Republican voters to make their way to the polls and vote for Republicans in congressional and local ballots.

Although Republicans have closed some gaps in the polls, the Democratic Party still leads. A Reuters/Ipsos poll shows the Democrats leading by an 11 point margin, while a recent NBC/Wall Street Journal poll shows Republicans trailing by 10 points. If this holds, the House will turn blue this November. Furthermore, the most important issue that most Americans say is on their mind for the midterms is healthcare; a notoriously difficult issue for Republicans to overcome. The majority of the American public now favors the single-payer healthcare system for which Bernie Sanders advocates and even lower-income Republicans increasingly believe it is the responsibility of the government to provide healthcare for its citizens. According to Pew Research, “52 percent of Republicans with family incomes below $30,000 say the federal government has a responsibility to ensure health coverage for all, up from just 31 percent last year. There also has been a 20-percentage-point increase among Republicans with incomes of $30,000-$74,999 (34 percent now, 14 percent last year). But there has been no significant change among those with incomes of $75,000 or more (18 percent now, 16 percent then).”

Democrats intend to capitalize on this. While the harsh rhetoric of impeachment that Democrats espouse may inspire Republican base to come out and vote against them, this is not the case with the majority of voters. According to the NBC/Wall Street Journal poll, 48 percent of voters are more likely to vote for a candidate if he/she is a “check” on President Trump, while only 23 percent of respondents said they would be dissuaded from supporting a candidate if they were a check on the current administration.

This does not mean that all hope is lost for Republicans. The Democrats are nearly impossible to underestimate when playing politics against Trump. Republicans must compel voters to choose them by employing the vibrancy of conservative ideas, the booming economy, the promises of immigration reform, and the Democratic fixation on a futile goose-chase regarding Russian Collusion. There is no “red wave” upon which Republicans can rely, which is why the recent numbers ought to warn Republican congressional hopefuls that their chances will depend on dramatically outperforming the current numbers.

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