A Big Blue Tsunami Is Coming!
On Tuesday, November 6, 2018 the next round of elections will take place in the United States. This is going to be an important time as all 435 House of Representative seats, 34 of the 100 seats in the Senate, and 39 state and territorial governorships will be contested.
All trends seem to point to Democratic party gains, it's just a matter of how big those gains are. The big question is "Why is this likely?" Why does the Democratic party stand to gain in the upcoming midterm elections? Here is why...
The first reason why things are looking up for the Democrats is based on history. In the past 21 midterm elections, the party of the incumbent President has lost an average of 30 seats in the House of Representatives and four in the Senate. There have only been two times (1934 and 2002) where the President's party gained seats.
Why does this happen? It's likely due to the losing side realizing that without higher voter turnout, their candidates won't do well while the winning side gets complacent since they recently won.
It's also likely due to the opposing party being unhappy with whatever the party in control of the White House is proposing. That kind of disagreement is a strong motivation to get out and vote.
Presidential elections are won on big dreams and major promises. Once elected though, reality sets in and many of those promises need to be eroded to actually get legislation passed. During the Obama presidency, the big campaign promise he got hammered on was 'If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor under the ACA.' That promise didn't work out and was a huge hit to his popularity and was a cause for his drop in popularity.
A second cause, is that the national media tends to nitpick every misstep by a sitting President. Conservative news sources hammered Obama, while liberal ones are doing the same to Trump.
Whatever issues are happening in the country, the buck stops with the President. The citizenry looks to the leader to solve the problems and if there isn't progress, there is going to be dissatisfaction that will show up in the polls. With so many issues and different things that affect different swaths of the country, it's almost a certainty that some areas will not get their needs addressed.
The American dream is that everyone can be successful and everyone wants to be financially secure. At the same point, this generation of Americans wants what they want and they want it now. It used to be you used hard work and sweat to achieve your goals over a long period of time. Nowadays, everyone's looking for the quick success story. Those that aren't hitting it rich, likely feel disgruntled. That feeling gets reflected in elections.
The Russia Issue
In the upcoming elections, there are some issues that are unique. First, there is a huge current investigation surrounding interference by Russia in our last Presidential election. There are also outstanding questions pertaining to how much involvement the Trump Campaign had in that interference.
Those that support the President believe his talking points that it's nothing more than a 'witch hunt.' While there have been indictments of Trump campaign staff, none of the crimes of those indicted point back to cooperation with Russia to help get him elected.
On the other hand, those that oppose Trump point to multiple meetings during the campaign of Trump staff and Russians. They find it hard to believe that with all those meetings and with the confirmed indictment of 13 Russians for meddling in the last election by the Mueller investigation, that there wasn't some form of collusion going on.
Combine those contacts with the fact that Trump's business interests have multiple ties to Russian interests, and there is a general concern by a large percentage of the country that the leader of the United States is either beholden to or in cahoots with Vladimir Putin and the Russian government.
This concern is further backed by the fact that Trump signed into law sanctions against the Russian government that were passed by a 530-5 vote but refuses to act on them. His statement that he made that he believed Putin over the findings of the United States intelligence services who claimed with absolute certainty that Russia interfered in the last election does not sit well with the patriotism of the average American. Believing Russians over Americans is a slap in the face to justice.
Speaking of justice, the perception that Trump has tried to obstruct the investigation into the Russia meddling is another real concern of voters. It will be interesting to see how that affects certain Congressmen such as Matt Gaetz of Florida and Devin Nunes of California who have worked publicly to aid in that undermining effort. Voters are beginning to openly question where their allegiances lie, with the truth or with partisan politics.
Many in the GOP are conservatives, both in social and fiscal policy. When Trump and his party passed the Tax 'reform' legislation at the end of last year rolling back taxes, there was major concern about the who that legislation really benefits. Many voters believe that was a major piece of legislation that helps those already wealthy Americans. In one Congressional district, the feedback a Senator got was 95% against passing that legislation because of the new property taxes would directly hurt the constituency, and yet the Senator cast his vote for it. Now, whenever he goes online to tout an achievement, his voters remind him of that betrayal and it's going to be a major point of contention in his upcoming re-election campaign.
Then came the latest budget proposed by Congress that had ridiculous amounts of spending increases to both social program and the military. Many true fiscal conservatives such as Senator Rand Paul raised objections that after years of standing up to excessive spending by the Obama administration, that there was a hypocrisy of raising the deficit by such a large figure.
Speaking of hypocrisy, for a fiscal conservative party, the leader of that party sure does vacation down in Florida a lot. The obscene costs of all that travel, and the fact that he campaigned on not leaving the White House often is seen a huge betrayal by the American people.
Trump, the Offender
In the past year, keeping track of the amount of people that Trump has offended has been difficult. From his own party, he has attacked Senator John McCain multiple times and disparaged Jeff Flake. He continues to use racial slurs against Elizabeth Warren while picking a fight with Oprah Winfrey for no reason. He continues with childish nicknames against opposition such as Adam Schiff, James Comey and Chuck Schumer.
He allowed the Keystone Pipeline and Dakota Pipeline to continue while rolling back protections on federal lands key to Native Americans. While claiming to be a friend to the LGBT community, he attempted to ban transgendered Americans from serving in the military and had Jeff Sessions write a brief in support of the company that discriminated against a gay couple in Oregon.
He continues to pick fights with black sports figures and leagues where civil rights concerns are raised. There is also a genuine belief that Puerto Rico and California are not getting the same aid response in terms of timing and resources that heavily conservative Florida and Texas received.
Congress, the Enabler
With all the childish and unstable antics of the current sitting President, many voters feel like Congress has not done enough to check Mr. Trump. The GOP, with their majorities in both houses, are perceived as enablers. The appearance is that they won't stand up to him because his base is so loyal and they fear offending them.
Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell are seen as 'yes-men' to the whims of whatever Trump proposes, no matter how outlandish. Many conservative politicians are going to get tied to Trump in a very negative way.
As Trump continues to back candidates, and those candidates lose elections such as Roy Moore in Alabama, there will be a growing concern of what line to toe in regards to this President.
The courts and the media have been the major check to bad Trump policies and hires. Without the media bringing up the Michael Flynn issue or the Rob Porter story, both of those flawed hires would be in their positions and cause for espionage concerns. The GOP investigation into Russian meddling have only furthered this perception that they are worthless as a check on this administration.
Congress, the Inept
One thing that actually helped the GOP, was the failed shutdown. The perception was that the Democrats tried to shutdown the government to assist illegals and then caved right away when they failed.
Neither why they did it or the fact that they had no spine in holding out for just one day perceived them in a positive light. No citizen likes a shutdown, and this one was squarely on the Democrats.
How do things currently stand? The GOP has a 51-47 edge, with two Independents. The House is 238-193 in favor of the Republicans. The likely scenario this November is that the GOP is going to lose the Senate and a bunch of seats in the House of Representatives. If they lose control of the House too, that is going to spell trouble for this administration. A Democratic Congress willing to stand up to Trump is going to bring his presidency to a screeching halt. What happens from there is going to be very interesting.