Democrats are experiencing a little angst lately. Trump’s approvals are up to about 45% in some polls. He’s getting, and should continue to get, positive coverage for the North Korea summit, and there might even be one with Putin in the offing. Mitt Romney said he thinks Trump will be re-elected in 2020 by a comfortable margin. Topping off this plate of tasty sweets is the roaring economy, and a relative quieting of the Mueller probe and associated breaking news. Trump, in other words, is having a good late Spring.
Democrats have got to avoid the appearance of sour grapes. An agreement with North Korea is good for everybody, not just Republicans. It’s nearly impossible, however, for any Democrat to give any credit whatsoever to Trump for anything, so instead we see Democrats leveling lame critiques of the summit. Trump is going in unprepared, they warn; the agreement is too vague; Kim will eat Trump’s lunch and then demand dinner. Such warnings sound rather hollow to me; if the summit is as successful as seems, they will sound retrospectively ridiculous.
So let Trump have his moments of glory. He’ll need them, because—surprise!–Robert Mueller isn’t going away. And besides, Americans—including most independents and some Republicans—by now have been conditioned to view Trump as a deeply disturbed and psychologically damaged man. Whether they see him as a pathological liar, or a serial adulterer, or an insulter of women and minorities, or as a cheating businessman, or as an egotistical narcissist, or as using his power and position to make himself and his family richer, or as needlessly disrupting our allied relationships, or giving massive tax cuts to his fellow billionaires, or as a racist—or all of the above–Americans are prepared to turn on Trump as soon as he makes a misstep. His recent uptick in the polls rests, then, on very shaky ground—ground that easily could shift when, say, Mueller brings more indictments, or Manafort flips, or more women come forward, or Trump through his own impulsivity tweets something that causes a firestorm (another Gold Star parent smear or “Mexicans are rapists,” for example).
Meanwhile, Democrats gear up for the midterms. Here in California, Democratic candidates are primed to win at least five Republican congressional seats. We have a glamorous, intelligent, photogenic candidate for Governor; Gavin Newsom should easily win, despite the pessimistic prognostication of Willie Brown (whose record for accurate predictions is miserable) that his opponent, John Cox, might win.
It’s not only in California that Dems are on the move. They’re organizing in every state, and don’t forget those marvelous Parkland students, whose underground registration and anti-NRA movement, brilliantly conducted on social media, is likely to have a profound impact on the November elections.
So my hunch is that, while Trump is going to have some good days ahead, the damage to his reputation already has been done. Democrats ought to win the House seats necessary to flip that chamber, and who knows but that the Senate could flip as well. This ridiculous war he’s started with our closest NATO allies, especially Trudeau in Canada, has got to be making independents wonder what the hell Trump thinks he’s doing. That is exactly what Democrats want independents to be thinking: Trump is weird, bad news, unstable, and ultimately not good for America.
Look, the great economy would have happened under anyone who got elected in 2016; it started under Obama and is merely continuing, The North Korea summit likewise would have occurred no matter who’s in the Oval Office because the Kim family has planned it that way for fifty years: once they developed nukes and ICBMs they knew the American president—whomever he or she was—would invite them to the table. I doubt if Republicans understand these things, because nobody on Fox “News” ever tells them the truth. But we don’t need a single Republican vote to turn this country around. We just need that 3%-5% of independents. My prediction: Trump’s polls will peak by early summer, then start tanking—and the Mueller report, which is bound to be devastating to Trump and his cronies—will likely be out just in time for the elections!
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