Friday, February 09, 2018

For Congressional Republicans Trump Created The Ultimate Rock And A Hard Place


Yesterday, a prominent Democratic campaign manager read the post about the Democratic win in Missouri Tuesday and said, relieved, "so I guess there's a wave coming after all." Only people in a state of delusion, I told him, think otherwise. That state legislative seat that flipped from red to blue, was a district that Trump won by around 28 points. A 27 year old Democrat won it by 4 points. That's quite a swing. Few Republicans would survive swings like that in their districts. Not Paul Ryan or Kevin McCarthy-- only Scalise from the leadership. But no more Republicans in Iowa, New England, the West Coast, New York, New Jersey...

Roll Call's analysis yesterday about how Trumpanzee is the GOP Catch-22, emphasizes that Republicans in Congress are in "a no-win situation" because of him. And then they propose everyone get out their tiny violins and play Samuel Barber's "Adagio for String."
Even if you think Republican leaders in Congress have shown no spine in responding to President Donald Trump’s more outrageous and inappropriate comments, you ought to be willing to acknowledge that GOP legislators are caught in a no-win situation.

It’s always tempting to tell incumbents of an unpopular president’s party to criticize their own party leader as a way to survive a midterm wave. But that strategy rarely works in competitive congressional districts when the political environment is as bad as it is for Republicans today.

Repeatedly criticizing your own party’s president undermines him, makes his party look divided and ineffective, and risks alienating the party’s grass roots, many of whom still support him.

At the same time, appearing to be an apologist for an unpopular president, particularly one as unhinged as Trump, also isn’t a winning strategy for most vulnerable Republicans.

...Since the birth of the party system, congressional leaders and White Houses have cajoled, promised, threatened and even punished members of Congress who failed to toe the party line.

But Trump has gone well beyond that in publicly humiliating critics, especially those from his own party.

Given all of that, and the GOP base’s continued strong support for the president, it’s easy to understand why many Republican members of Congress would rather not talk about Trump’s daily controversies, even if it means running away from reporters. But that tactic doesn’t change their electoral equations.

Most congressional Republicans in tough districts won’t be able to survive merely by laying low. At least not if and when an electoral wave hits.

Some, like Reps. Lee Zeldin and John J. Faso of New York and Leonard Lance of New Jersey, surely hope their votes against the GOP tax bill will inoculate them. After all, they can demonstrate they sided with their constituents and against the president in opposing the legislation, which punishes voters from high-tax states.

But voters may have a different perspective. They may realize those “no” votes by Zeldin, Faso and Lance did not stop the tax bill from passing and the only way to stop future Republican mistakes would be to turn the chamber over to the Democrats. And the only way to achieve that is to vote against House Republicans. So here is the GOP’s Catch-22.

Had Zeldin, Faso and Lance made a bigger stink about the bill and Trump’s overall behavior, they would have risked alienating base GOP voters. But since they didn’t raise a ruckus about Trump’s overall performance, they will be viewed by Trump’s critics as defenders of the president.

GOP insiders believe that some Republicans from competitive districts-- Reps. David Valadao of California and John Katko of New York, for example-- are doing enough to swim against the wave. But for others, the challenge will be too great.

While voters bemoan partisanship, most members of Congress have spent their entire lives in one party and see American politics through a partisan lens.

They are comfortable with that perspective, and with the personal relationships built with colleagues over the years.

This helps explain why members of Congress prefer to stick with their party-- and their president.

None of this is meant to excuse the deafening silence coming from most House and Senate Republicans at the all-too-frequent lunacy emanating from the White House and from the president’s allies.

Nor does it alter the political reality that the fine line that some GOP members are trying to walk this midterm year is so narrow and tricky that it is essentially unwalkable.
Take the tyrant's $17.2 million Napoleon-like military parade. Should Republicans in Congress vote no-- especially if Pelosi brings up a resolution to spend the money on the V.A. instead? If they vote "no," people who watch to Fox or listen to Alex Jones or Limbaugh are going to hate them. If they vote "yes," more independent voters, who already are disgusted with Trump, will turn on them. Two Republicans, Lee Zelden (Suffolk County, Long Island) and Justin Amash (Grand Rapids) have already come out against it. These are the 2 dozen Republican incumbents-- who haven't already announced their retirements-- who will be most negatively impacted by being seen as blindly sticking with Señor T:
Carlos Curbelo (FL)
Steve Knight (CA)
John Katko (NY)
Will Hurd (TX)
David Valadao (CA)
Brain Fitzpatrick (PA)
Erik Paulsen (MN)
Ryan Costello (PA)
John Faso (NY)
Bruce Poliquin (ME)
David Young (IA)
Mimi Walters (CA)
Peter King (NY)
Tom MacArthur (NJ)
Jeff Denham (CA)
Rod Blum- (IA)
Mike Coffman (CO)
Peter Roskam (IL)
John Culberson (TX)
Pete Sessions (TX)
Don Bacon (NE)
Kevin Yoder (KS)
Rodney Davis (IL)
Mario Diaz-Balart (FL)
Meanwhile, when Pence's own corporately-financed PAC contributed to 30 threatened House Republicans this week, he left out the single most vulnerable incumbent in the country, Carlos Curbelo (FL-26), who is so underwater that Beltway Republicans have just entirely written him off as a lost cause: a GOP deadman walking.

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At 6:32 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

1) trump is the usa (united shitholes of America). We're stupid, ignorant, fat, narcissistic and overloaded with hate and hubris. Only a few of us can talk good.

2. ' "so I guess there's a wave coming after all." Only people in a state of delusion, I told him, think otherwise.'
Speaking of delusions, there's the one where the democraps will magically transmogrify back into the party of FDR and undo the past 40 years of fascism and naziism if only we elect a couple dozen new people at the bottom of that shit party. Wanna know why this is delusional? See #1.

At 6:55 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So what if DINO-Whigs replace Republicans? The policies of bloat the rich while starving the rest of us isn't going to change one bit. We'll get a few crumbs to satisfy us which the GOP will take away again once the DINO-Whigs again piss off the voters and do what they do best - lose.


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