Sunday, May 12, 2019

Trump's Enemies May Be Strategically Smart

Since last fall, multiple opinion sources, from the Wall Street Journal on the center Right to Vanity Fair on the Left have been warning us that "the Democrats May Have Overplayed their Hand." That warning was already audible before the November 2018 election, when Republicans and at least some centrist Democrats argued that the Democratic candidates could come a cropper if they battered Donald Trump too recklessly. The Democrats’ war against Supreme Court nominee Bret Kavanaugh last fall also made them look unreasonable and in some cases downright nasty. But the ensuing election didn’t go against the anti-Trump and anti-Kavanaugh side. And if some moderate Democrats like Conor Lamb won in Southwestern Pennsylvania, hysterically anti-Trump and anti-Kavanaugh candidates also emerged victorious and now control the House of Representatives.

The rhetorical question that is now being asked is whether the "radical Democrats" in the House and most of the Democratic presidential candidates aren’t going a tad too far by trying to pull down Trump on the basis of what they think they can use of the Mueller Report. It would seem that the Mueller Report found no evidence that Trump had colluded with the Russian government during his presidential campaign; and even the evidence that he "obstructed justice" during the Mueller investigation does not look particularly promising for Trump-haters in the Democratic Party or in the mainstream media. The recent efforts of House Democrats like Jerry Nadler, Maxine Waters, Steve Cohen, Adam Schiff, and Elijah Cummins to bring about Trump’s impeachment and to hold the Attorney General Robert Barr in contempt for supposedly not being sufficiently forthcoming about Mueller’s work may also backfire. The often theatrical lengths to which the Democrats are going to humiliate Trump and his appointees may supposedly turn off enough voters to ensure Trump’s reelection. Once again we hear about how overzealous Democrats are shooting themselves in the foot.

As someone who finds these Democratic antics to be profoundly disgusting, it would please me if their critics were correct. Unfortunately the Democrats may be doing what is politically expedient by being rude and often hypocritical (e.g., by going after Trump for doing things, like colluding with Russia, that members of the Obama administration actually perpetrated with impunity). Trump remains a divisive figure; and even with a remarkably prosperous economy, over fifty percent of those likely voters who have been polled view him unfavorably. According to Gallup and other national polls, any of the top Democratic presidential candidates (except for Elizabeth Warren) would beat Trump handily in 2020. Moreover, even if these figures are subject to change, Trump is far less popular than a president with a remarkable strong economy should be at this point in his tenure. That liberal Democratic rock star Beto O’Rourke could beat Trump by ten points if the two ran against each other right now, speaks volumes about Trump’s present vulnerability.

This situation can be ascribed to a number of factors, including Trump’s loose tongue and often incoherent, insulting tweets. But in my view, this behavior does not offer an adequate explanation for why Trump incurs so much hostility. According to The Hill, 49 %of those polled believe that Trump should be either impeached or that the investigation that might lead to his impeachment should be continued. (Only 48 % believe that the congressional investigation should be ended.) Certainly the Donald has powerful, interlocking enemies, such as the mainstream media, educational institutions, Hollywood, the Deep State, and those leftists who control access to social media. Most of these enemies are not exclusively anti-Trump. They would be howling even against a milquetoast Republican president, just as they have against VP Mike Pence, who despite his conciliatory behavior has been widely depicted as a homophobic anti-feminist Christian fanatic. Mayor Pete tore into Mike as a homophobe simply because this guy was there, and because the media had already laced into him repeatedly, without any evidence that Mike ever gave offense to anyone. The point is that even an unfailingly courteous President who was a Republican and didn’t agree with liberal pet causes would be getting most of the same treatment that has been inflicted on Trump. Trump’s tweets are not the sole or even main reason for the electoral problems that he faces.

There is also the difficulty that he and other Republican presidential candidates confront in dealing with a massive, probably unalterably unfriendly voting bloc. This bloc consists of lots and lots of millennials, almost 90% of black voters, a majority of Asians, over half of Hispanics, public employees, and in increasing numbers, college-educated women. That’s a lot of adversary voters whom Republicans will have to contend with. And those Never-Trump "moderate" Republicans and neocons who tell us that a "nice," non-combative Republican presidential candidate (that is, non-combative in domestic issues) could clean up in the general election don’t seem to have very good memories. They’ve obviously forgotten how the media savaged their guys, namely McCain and Romney, in previous elections. The GOP is looking at a hard road ahead, and if the economy goes south, things may get even worse for them.


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