He might be a rookie when it comes to politics, but Donald J. Trump is helluva lot smarter than most political operatives who have been in this business for decades.
Trump is largely undecided if he wants Republicans to keep the House.
On the one hand, doing business with Nancy Pelosi would be a nightmare. On the other hand, doing business with Jim Jordan is no walk in the park either.
And so the President continues to go his own way, talking about issues that he cares about while trying his level best to stay faithful to his campaign promises.
The President campaigned on a platform of peace and prosperity. He would make peace with our enemies and jolt the economy to new heights.
He concluded a murky deal with Rocket Man and met two hours with King Vlad in private. Talk about a reset.
You make your own luck, and while the President is pretty lucky that growth hit 4.1 percent in the last quarter (3.9. percent wouldn’t have been nearly as good), his Administration did all the right things to whip the economy into shape.
Mr. Trump talks about the growing economy every once in a while, but he understands that while pocketbook issues help levitate Republicans in mid-term elections, it is cultural issues that drive voters to the polls.
When the economy is good, Republicans have the luxury of talking wedge issues. When the economy is crappy, the Democrats have a superior message: I’m from the government and I have money to give you.
Free market theology is more believable when the everybody has a job.
Everybody who wants to work has a job today. It might not be as stable or as lucrative as some might like, but we are at full employment.
And with full employment, Republicans can take two tacks: They can try to claim credit for les bon temps or they can hit Democrats for being against the idea of making America great.
The President is firmly in the second camp. He wants to rumble on immigration and trade because he believes (with some justification) that his white working class voters, especially older ones, will be inspired to vote for the GOP in November.
Throw out a nice little confirmation battle on the next Supreme Court Justice, and you have yourselves a brewing culture war that should mitigate Republican losses and stem the mythical blue wave.
That’s what is going through the President’s mind as tweets his way through the week.
Traditionally, midterm elections are a report card on the relative power of a President.
And usually, a President’s party takes it on the chin, especially if the economy is not meeting expectations.
That was certainly true in 1982, 1994, 2006 and 2010.
In 1966, Republicans won big despite a growing economy and low umemployment, mostly as a reaction to President Johnson’s aggressive move to the left, which alienated Southern Democrats who started a long migration to the Republican party.
In 1970, it was an unpopular war that Richard Nixon couldn’t extricate himself out of that cost the Republicans 12 seats.
You can make the case that Republicans lost their majority in 2006, because of another unpopular war.
But there is no raging war that is driving voters to the polls this time around. Nor is the economy in the tubes.
To me, that means that Republicans might lose a few seats in suburban districts because wealthy, upscale yuppie types find the President to be a despicable human being and will punish Republican candidates simply because they can.
But there will be no blue wave. Not by a long shot.
I stick by my prediction. Republicans will lose 10 to 12 seats in the House, but will keep their majority. They will gain 3 or 4 seats in the Senate.
There will be no blue wave.