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Est. April 5, 2002
October 25, 2018 - Issue 761

Trump’s Path to Midterm Victories,
Voter ID, Caravan, Etc.

"Trump is serving as a one man get-out-the-vote (GOTV)
machine that is unrivaled by any Democratic leader.  He
is traveling the country with a vicious and succinct message
that demeans immigrants and minorities, emboldens white
nationalists, taunts women, promotes white male privilege,
and claims that fraudulent voting is rampant among minorities."

Trump Updates to the Midterms:

  • Trump’s approval rating has risen to 47 percent, his highest since his election to the presidency, and appears to be the key to Republican resurgence in the final weeks of the midterm campaigns.

  • He has cobbled together elements of fear—immigration, crime, demographic transition, alleged minority-fueled riots—to rally his base and some conservative Democrats to racialize the upcoming elections.

  • Trump has masterfully deployed the controversy surrounding the U.S. Supreme Court confirmation of Justice Brett Kavanaugh to stoke the anxieties of his supporters.

  • As a result, he has been instrumental in closing the eleven point voting enthusiasm gap between Republicans and Democrats to four points during October.

The political times are a changing. Republicans, who were widely believed to be assured of losing the House, and possibly the Senate, to Democrats during the upcoming midterms, have fallen in line behind their Dear Leader, President Donald J.Trump, who is on the brink of bringing them back to life as Jesus did Lazarus.

He is a congenital liar, a cheat, a misogynist, a supporter of state-sponsored murder, and an admitted white nationalist who continues to operate with impunity. Nonetheless, Trump has developed a near genius ability to identify and shape the attitudes of his existing and prospective supporters and to exploit them for political gain. Democrats seemingly have no counter to his ongoing political machinations and fall into his political traps over and over again.

Trump has also used his base’s anger at Democrats over their treatment of Kavanaugh during the hearings for his Supreme Court confirmation and the current caravan of Central American immigrants heading toward the southern border of the U.S. as mechanisms to jumpstart voter interest and turnout as we approach the midterms. His singular ability to craft an appealing, yet polarizing message, has left Democrats with broken political ankles as Trump crosses them over time after time. Democrats, in their political naivet´┐Ż and push for personal aggrandizement, have aided him in facilitating their systematic political demise.

Instead of using their nascent star power to focus solely on the House and Senate midterm races, Sens. Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, Elizabeth Warren, and Kirsten Gillibrand have used the opportunity to promote themselves for a 2020 presidential run. To further complicate matters, Hillary Clinton has sent signals that she may have to jump into the 2020 race in order to rescue the Democratic Party after leading it into its 2016 political disaster. As a result of her personal hubris, she keeps coming back like Freddie Krueger in Friday the 13th, and no Democrat is willing to ask her to leave the political stage.

Coupled with the Democrats’ unclear and inconsistent political messaging and their weak efforts to coalesce their base, they have yielded considerable political ground to Republicans. Moreover, Trump is serving as a one man get-out-the-vote (GOTV) machine that is unrivaled by any Democratic leader. He is traveling the country with a vicious and succinct message that demeans immigrants and minorities, emboldens white nationalists, taunts women, promotes white male privilege, and claims that fraudulent voting is rampant among minorities. That oral memorandum is resonating with increasing numbers of Americans and is being reinforced by the on-the-ground GOTV efforts of local Republicans.

Most pernicious is the focus on voter suppression by purging voter rolls. Voter ID laws have been passed in 31 states where 99 bills have been enacted to diminish voter access. In Georgia, the Secretary of State and current candidate for Governor, Brian Kemp, has gone out of his way to quash the black vote. Other states included in these aggressive initiatives are North Carolina, Wisconsin, Florida, and North Dakota (where Native Americans are being currently barred from voting because they do not have a street address and will likely result in Republicans picking up another U.S. Senate seat). Alabama and the other states of the Old Confederacy are also active in the voter suppression process.

Only a few Democratic candidates are running an effective, political counter offensive with their own, effective GOTV operations: Andrew Gillum, Stacey Abrams, and Ben Jealous in their gubernatorial races in Florida, Georgia, and Maryland, respectively. All three won their primaries without depending on the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and local Democratic operators for any significant GOTV assistance. The state and district visits by former President Obama and other Democratic luminaries draw large crowds and are entertaining, but they have almost no impact on driving Democrats to the polls, especially during the midterms.

This lack of a political impact was amply demonstrated when Obama and his wife, Michelle, campaigned in more states than did Hillary Clinton during her 2016 defeat where there was a precipitous decline in black and youth voter turnout. This outcome paralleled their performance in the 2010 and 2014 midterm elections during Obama’s two terms. What was needed then and now is the outreach to and cultivation and facilitation of likely Democratic voters. These were the keys to Obama’s presidential primary victory in Iowa in 2008, and his subsequent triumphs in battleground states which propelled him to the White House and returned him there in 2012 when he generated unprecedented turnout among minorities and young voters.

Without such energy in the 2018 midterms, that is not apparent so far, Trump will prevail in retaining the House and the Senate. He has made all the midterm races about himself, and the Republican candidates are buying in. Even those he has cruelly humiliated like Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Dean Heller (D-AZ) are willingly and happily kissing Trump’s behind.

If he maintains his bellicose GOTV activities and succeeds, Trump will be heralded as one of the greatest politicians of this era while leading our nation into a dictatorship.

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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Executive Editor:
David A. Love, JD
Managing Editor:
Nancy Littlefield, MBA
Peter Gamble

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