Midterms: Is the ‘blue wave’ already receding?
“Is a ‘blue wave’ really coming to sweep Republicans out of office?” asked Li Zhou in Vox.com. Maybe not. Just a few months ago, Democrats held “a whopping 18-point advantage” in generic ballot polling for the midterm elections, and seemed “poised for a historic election that would bring them back into power in one or both chambers of Congress.” More recent polling has cut that lead by more than half, the likely result of “booming economic growth” and President Trump’s steadily rising approval ratings. Experts still expect Democratic gains in Congress, but with a number of Democrats finding themselves in tight races in crucial swing districts, it’s too soon to predict whether they’ll pick up the 23 seats they need to take control of the House.
Don’t count out the possibility of a “red wave,” said Fred Barnes in The Weekly Standard. Trump’s latest approval rating has climbed to a respectable 44 percent, and 90 percent of Republicans are happy with the president’s job performance, so he is “no longer the punching bag he was last year.” If the prospect of avoiding impeachment and filling another Supreme Court seat can stoke “Republican intensity,” the GOP may retain control of the House and the Senate. “Trump’s drama-prone leadership” turns a lot of people off, said John Fund in the National Review. But with 62 percent of Americans rating the economy as “good” or “excellent”—up from 32 percent this time two years ago—Trump’s likability might not matter. Many voters simply won’t vote for “increasingly left-leaning Democrats” who would bring back the “big government economic policies of the slow-growth Obama years.”
With a president as extreme as Trump, the economy is only one factor, said Greg Sargent in WashingtonPost.com. Most voters know he is “corrupt and authoritarian,” with a “dangerously destructive temperament.” That’s why an NBC poll found that by 52 to 19 percent, voters in competitive districts are more likely to support a congressional candidate who promises to be a check on Trump than one who supports him. Democrats would be wise to run against Trump, said Albert Hunt in Bloomberg.com, but not on a pledge to impeach him. When Republicans impeached Bill Clinton in 1998, they succeeded only in energizing Democratic voters. Democrats should keep the focus on Trump’s policies and his corruption. Midterms are about grievances, and an “anti-Trump message will resonate almost everywhere.”