Election 2020

As Polls Shift, Dem Hopes for Control, Impeachment Fade

It seems like just last week that the Democrats, fresh off their famous victories in Virginia and Alabama, were confidently predicting a “blue wave” of electoral success this fall, retaking the House and even the Senate, in order to get on with their real legislative business: the impeachment and conviction of President Donald J. Trump. Hey, wait a minute — it was just last week!

I threw some cold water on that notion in this piece, and am happy to do so again today:

Republicans are feeling better about their prospects in the midterm elections, buoyed by recent polls that show their numbers improving. An ebullient President Trump touted the shift in public sentiment reflected in recent polls during a joint Senate-House Republican retreat in West Virginia this week.

“I just looked at some numbers, you’ve even done better than you thought,” Trump told lawmakers, citing poll numbers he discussed Thursday with National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) Chairman Steve Stivers (R-Ohio). “The numbers are pretty good and that’s one example of how things are getting better,” Stivers told reporters after discussing polling numbers with Trump.

Stivers said the bump in Trump’s approval rating is a good sign for Republicans running for reelection. “No president in their second year has seen their approval rating go up except now this one,” Stivers noted. GOP lawmakers discussed the favorable turn in poll numbers during their retreat.

Well, we’ll see. But given the fact that the Senate deck is really stacked against them, it’s very difficult to see how the Left can win back the upper chamber this cycle. Meanwhile, in the House, redistricting has worked in the favor of the Republicans, primarily via their control of the majority of state houses and state legislatures across the country. The Democrats, naturally, are already whining about “gerrymandering,” which is otherwise known as “empowerment” via the creation of “majority-minority” districts, but somehow evil when the GOP does it.

Here, for example, is the district currently represented by Luis Gutierrez (D., Puerto Rico), the Illinois congressman who left the State of the Union address last week as the members were chanting, “USA, USA” —

Why the shift? For one thing, the effects of the GOP tax plan are starting to kick in, and while the stock market (which roots against America as often as it roots for it) had a huge course correction on profit-taking last week, the other economic indices are soaring, including employment, bonuses, repatriation of capital, and infrastructure investment. The Democrats may sneer at the story of a worker who’s only seen a buck and a half increase in his paycheck so far, but I got one of those class-action checks in the mail last week, for the princely sum of $1, and I plan to cash it. The plutocratic Democrats, whose numbers include San Franciscans Dianne Feinstein and Nancy Pelosi, sniff at such lowly sums, but it never seems to occur to them that it’s not so much the amount that counts as the fact of the increase itself.

The polling shift is reflected in the generic ballot question — would you vote for anonymous Democrat X or anonymous Republican Y? But nobody votes for Anonymous, and while a number of prominent GOP congressmen have announced their retirements, the fact remains that we still have 435 separate House elections every two years, and those races are largely decided by local issues, not by whether the candidate will vote to impeach a sitting president. As the GOP learned during the Clinton impeachment, Americans don’t much like their choice at the ballot box overturned by Congress or the courts, no matter which candidate they voted for.

The generic ballot question, which asks respondents if they would be more likely to vote for a Democratic or Republican candidate in their own district, is considered an indicator of future wave elections. A Reuters/Ipsos poll released Wednesday showed that Trump’s approval rating has ticked up in the past week. Another Reuters/Ipsos poll shows voters think Republicans have a better plan for jobs and employment than Democrats, by a margin of 37.6 percent to 27.8 percent.

A Democratic wave looked all but inevitable two months ago. Some in the party were talking in mid-December about a 40-seat pickup, but a tsunami of that magnitude now looks much less likely. Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.), a former NRCC chairman, said the environment is looking “much better” for his party compared to two months ago. “I think you’re seeing all the data improve,” Walden said.

Yes, everything can, and most likely will, change. But the Democrats’ geriatric leadership and their Baby Boomer allies in the media have thrown everything they have against Trump, and so far have only succeeded in embarrassing themselves and corrupting mainstream journalism beyond repair. They’ve never grasped that Americans didn’t vote for Trump the man as much as for Trump the outsider and disrupter: they want Washington brought to heel, and there is almost nothing Trump could say or do — except not deliver — that will turn them against him. It’s not the man, it’s the movement.

After eight years in the Obama Slough of Despond, that’s the message the GOP needs to keep delivering.

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