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Est. April 5, 2002
July 05, 2018 - Issue 749

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Will Lose 2018 Midterms
Unless …

"Trump and his allies are marching across the nation
like Sherman did through Georgia towards the end of
the Civil War and Hitler through Europe in World War II. 
Democrats are in big trouble and refused
to acknowledge their dire straits."

Trump Updates to the Midterms:

  • Trump’s zero-tolerance policy for prosecuting parents who enter the country illegally is being used to jumpstart turnout among the rabid anti-immigrant faction of his base for the 2018 midterms.

  • His Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is counting on Democratic Senators Joe Donnelly (IN), Heidi Heitkamp (ND), and Joe Manchin (WVA) to provide Trump a cushion for the confirmation of his upcoming Supreme Court pick. Trump criticized Heitkamp at his North Dakota rally last week just to let her know he is her “daddy.”

  • He enjoyed success in last week’s midterms with his endorsements and campaigning for New York incumbent Congressman Daniel Donovan and South Carolina’s Gov. Henry McMaster whose primary races were tight until he stepped in.

  • The nation’s rapidly changing demographics are proving to be more of a challenge for Democrats than for the Trump Republican Party.

Democrats have been on a downward spiral since the last year of the Obama Presidency when the Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell ‘pimp slapped’ them on Obama’s nominee, Merrick Garland, for a seat on the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) by refusing to even have the Senate’s Judiciary Committee vote on his nomination. Obama had gone out of his way to put forth a candidate that he believed was acceptable to McConnell and the Republicans since they had voted overwhelmingly for Garland when he was confirmed by a vote of 76-23 to the D.C. Appeals Court by a Republican-controlled Senate in 1997.

Some Democratic strategists had urged Obama to nominate his then Attorney General Loretta Lynch for the post, instead of Garland, knowing that she would also have been blocked by Republicans but that it would have angered and energized Democratic turnout among women, especially African Americans, in Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin in the 2016 election and would have likely propelled Hillary Clinton to victory. But Obama’s attempted appeasement of McConnell was futile as Republican leaders had begun plotting against him and the House and Senate Democratic majorities at a Capitol Hill restaurant, the Caucus Room, on January 20, 2009, the night of his inauguration.

Within a month, Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell announced at a press conference that his primary political objective was to make certain that Barack Obama was a one-term President which resonated with an increasingly conservative Republican base. McConnell systematically led his members back to power during the next five years.

From that point on, Republicans obstructed Obama and the Democrats at every turn, taking back the House in 2010 and the Senate in 2014, maintaining that control and adding the Presidency with the election of Donald Trump in 2016. Leader McConnell and his autocratic wingman, President Trump, have intimidated the Democratic leadership into normalizing and accepting the abuse heaped upon them and their constituents: providing rhetorical support to white nationalists and spewing racist jargon; separating immigrant parents from their children; attacking African American athletes for social protests and calling their mothers bitches; revoking the Obama-era affirmative action guidelines for higher education; attacking and undermining the Affordable Care Act (ACA); and numerous other obnoxious acts.

As we approach the 2018 midterm elections, Trump and the Republicans are steadily gaining ground with the electorate even as several political polls show the rise of a Democratic blue wave. Trump has doubled down by feeding his 30-35 percent arch-conservative base with anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim policies, chauvinistic speeches; personal attacks on Democrats’ minority and majority officeholders; voter disenfranchisement; continuing racial gerrymandering of political districts, all with assists from SCOTUS; and the stoking of white fears that their communities are being overrun by MS-13 gangs and other people of color, defiling their quality of life.

He is also giving voice to the 10-15 percent of Independents and Moderates who quietly share his views, and the middle - and upper-classes and financial elite who have benefitted enormously from his recent tax cuts. Finally, Trump, like Reagan in 1980 and 1984, has drawn about 10-15 percent of Democrats who publicly criticize him and his policies while pulling the lever for him and the candidates he backs. Out of this mixture, Trump will possibly be able to generate enough voters to keep the House and modestly expand the Republican hold on the Senate. His latest gambit is the ratcheting up of evangelical support for his promise to select a SCOTUS Justice who will be the deciding vote to overturn Roe v. Wade and to bend the federal government further toward a homophobic theocracy and one dominated by business interests.

As Trump makes his Paul Revere-type run across the country with escalating hyperbolic messaging to his devotees at huge rallies, he is also setting up the apparatus to generate a historic turnout at the polls in November. It will probably far exceed that of Democrats who have yet to develop a cohesive missive for their voters. But most troubling is the fact that Democratic Minority Leader Chuck Schumer is calling for civility and bipartisanship when the Trump Republican Party has made it abundantly clear they have no interest in pursuing such a process.

Moreover, McConnell already has three Democratic Senators’ votes in his breast pocket who also voted for Justice Gorsuch: Joe Manchin (WVA), Heidi Heitkamp (ND), and Joe Donnelly (IN) from states Trump won overwhelmingly, showing Schumer that he cannot keep his fellow Senators in line. In addition, two-term incumbent Sen. Claire McCaskill’s (D-MO) race is rated a toss-up against Republican Attorney General Josh Hawley in a state Trump won by 20 points. She may well sign on and vote for Trump’s SCOTUS pick in an effort to retain her seat. Thus, Trump will be able to claim that he forged bipartisanship heading into the midterms.

But most troubling for Democrats is that the near landslide victory of first-time Democratic Socialist candidate, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, over the 4th ranking House Democrat, 20-year incumbent Joe Crowley, in last week’s New York primary, has revealed how fragile veteran Democrats are as they go into battle for control of the House. Many other long-term Democrats won narrow primary victories against insurgents which suggest that they may be unable to bring voters to the polls in large numbers when they are desperately needed in November.

There appears to be no strategy to address this reality other than to say that Democrats are ahead in national polls as Hillary Clinton did in 2016 when she went down to defeat. Poll numbers are not sufficient to defeat Trump Republican opponents who are marching in unison behind his policies, no matter how vile and vicious Democrats perceive them to be. Trump and his allies are marching across the nation like Sherman did through Georgia towards the end of the Civil War and Hitler through Europe in World War II. Democrats are in big trouble and refused to acknowledge their dire straits.

What can they do? It’s simple: respond to the challenges outlined above; stop attacking their leadership in the media (they are arguing over who leads the House majority before they attain it); show some backbone in opposing Trump’s policies across the board; take a stand on the issues that their base—millennials, women, people of color, and the LGBTQ community care fervently about; immediately involve Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and other female insurgent candidates in the final strategy to take back the House and possibly the Senate; and pour massive amounts of money into getting out the Democratic vote.

I am not optimistic that Democrats will do anything different at this time, and if lightning does not strike, the Trump Republican Party prevails, again!

links to all 20 parts of the opening series Columnist, Dr. Walter C. Farrell, Jr., PhD, MSPH, is a Fellow of the National Education Policy Center (NEPC) at the University of Colorado-Boulder and has written widely on vouchers, charter schools, and public school privatization. He has served as Professor of Social Work at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and as Professor of Educational Policy and Community Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Contact Dr. Farrell. 

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