Blog#42’s Notes on .@Axios’ “1 big thing: Epic political malpractice — at scale | #GOPFail
My Axios Newsletter for September 16 begins with:
1 big thing: Epic political malpractice — at scale
By all measures of American politics, this should be the moment Republicans cement an unstoppable governing majority:
They have a booming economy … a Senate map you fantasize about (10 Democrats up for re-election in Trump country) … House districts carved to their advantage … and tons of rich donors.
Charlie Cook of Cook Political Report emails me: “From the presidency, to Congress, governors and state legislatures, Republicans hold more offices than any time since the 1920s. … This is the most favorable Senate map that either party has had in modern history, maybe ever. … Things don’t get much better.”
Instead, Republicans are blowing it — often in mind-boggling ways, officials tell Axios CEO Jim VandeHei and me:
They’re suffering retirements at record rates — putting very winnable House seats like Speaker Ryan’s at far greater risk.
They look unlikely to win more than one or two — if any — of the Senate seats held by Democrats in states Trump won in 2016.
There’s a 40% chance they blow the entire majority, based on our conversations with GOP leaders.
They seem unlikely to reap much of the benefit from economic indicators that should be gold to run on. Think about it: They delivered huge tax cuts; unemployment is, remarkably, below 4%; wages are rising; economic optimism is surging.
They’re sucking wind in campaign after campaign.
And they’re alienating women — prompting a record number to run and vote. Remember: More women vote in presidential elections than men.
A Republican official deeply involved in midterm campaigns told me: “If there was any way to reduce the noise (unlikely!!) we could survive. [There’s] so much noise [that it doesn’t] allow people to realize economy/life is good.”
Be smart: This election could echo long from now. Republicans seem certain to end this election even more defined as the party of white men, a group slowly but surely shrinking in power.
There’s a reason that the party’s autopsy after the 2012 election called for an urgent push for inclusion: Demographics don’t lie.
These days, the headlines everywhere describe our economy using terms such glowing terms as “booming,” “humming.” The reasons why Republicans are potentially facing huge losses begin with the fact that the economy is booming for those who were doing well to begin with. Contrary to what some economists would have you start believing, the economy is doing especially well for those who were bailed out. Here’s looking at you, Wall Street! The economy is doing especially well for those who got their taxes cut bigly.
But for those who go to the polls, the economy isn’t doing so hot, as evidenced by all the reports about middle class dwellers who would have trouble dealing with a $400 emergency, never mind those who aren’t in that hallowed social stratus. The economic inequality that has widened since the Great Recession is worsening at a faster pace now and people aren’t doing any better than they were when they went out to vote two years ago.
The fact that Republicans are being outraised belies voter sentiment.
A record number of senior congressional Republicans announced early this year that they are retiring, including Paul Ryan. There’s been a lot written about the fact that the numbers are unprecedented, but little has been said about why. Could it be that the extreme legislative agenda has anything to do with it? Could it be that between the Tax Scam Bill that will end up costing those who can least afford to pay more and rollbacks of environmental, banking, and labor regulations – along with stark predictions about health consequences arising from rolling back coal mining rules – are tantamount to irreparably burning bridges with voters? Why else would so many well-known politicians all up and leave at the same time?
Then, there is the coming storm in 2019. The U.S. media, over the past week or so, has been warning voters to check their tax withholdings to make sure they don’t find themselves owing on their 2018 tax returns. For the first time in a very long time, most people will get a very small refund, if they don’t find themselves owing. The tax reform bill was touted as a tax cut for everyone. Everyone who isn’t a titan of industry or banker is about to find out the truth.
If that’s not bad enough, right after the November election, the lame duck Congress will go about the chore of finding creative ways to pay for the Republican tax scam. Voters, at that point, will find out that Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security will no longer take care of mom and dad, that their Obamacare funding will either be drastically cut or altogether vanish, that the grants their kids depend on for college might go away, that less funding will be sent to the states, causing state taxes to rise, and that a variety of other things citizens take for granted will suddenly end – all because the rich need money and dependency on the nanny state is bad for you anyway. If it’s any indication, the likes of Mr. 47%, Mitt Romney, who is running for one of the Utah Senate seats, is already making noises about deficits.
Think Romney won’t vote to gut the social safety net?
I guess these are the real reasons why Ryan, et al are leaving Congress. How do you face the public with a straight face after that?
Then, there are all the things that are anti-woman that are being done, including confirming an anti-abortion judge to the Supreme Court, while obviously hiding his record as a government official. Whether or not it turns out that Kavanaugh is also a rapist is the cherry on top.
On the “lack of inclusion,” which is a euphemism for not standing up to the white supremacist policies of the Trump administration, this is the least of the Republican party’s worries. The policies they’ve put in place this past year are sure to alienate their base first, never mind including any other groups. They burned the race bridge in 2009 and haven’t looked back.
The only thing I agree with is that this election will echo a long time from now, and we’ve not even discussed Trump and the baggage he brings to all of this.
The real question is whether Democrats will be any smarter, more mindful of their voters and their left flank from here on out. With Pelosi promising to impose “pay-go” if her party retakes the House of Representatives. With such a regressive policy, one that even Republicans won’t use, backlash is sure to come, if she is re-elected as leader. She is opposed to free college, healthcare for all, and all of the progressive policies that even Republican voters poll as favoring, never mind a majority of Democrats.
While the writing on the wall clearly reveals the coming backlash against Republicans, it remains to be seen what’s in store for Democrats. If the last ten years are any indication, the voting public hasn’t shown a tendency to be cowed, even when the situation is at its worst. The Democratic party has resisted continued mostly resisting change all throughout. While the latest DNC rule changes appear as a major shift, they pertain to presidential politics and have no bearing on policy. The disconnect between the planks the party adopted during the 2016 convention and what congressional Democrats actually do, continues unabated.
Stay tuned, and stay informed…
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