There is a certain level of consternation, if not angst, in Republican circles over the midterm elections, especially as concerns the House. The prognosticators will be out in full force as the midterm elections draw closer and closer and we will, no doubt, be inundated with polls and poll interpretation.
The Democrats are absolutely giddy happy after their special election wins in Alabama and a Congressional race in Pennsylvania. Of course, they are intentionally ignorant of the fact that $5 million in money from outside Alabama put Doug Jones over the finish line, and even then he only managed to win by 22,000 votes of 1.3 million cast. In the Pennsylvania race, Democrat Conor Lamb won a squeaker of an election in a district Trump won by 20 points. However, left unsaid is that was the last election in Pennsylvania under the old district map. In some ways, the Left is rather myopic in their analysis and are quick to point out presidential results in only the most recent election, rather than trends over time.
Lamb won the 18th Congressional district race which was rated, by Cook, +11 GOP before the new map went into effect, and +14 GOP afterwards. The old 18th has been split between the new 14th and 17th. Those districts are rated +13 Democrat in the 14th and +3 GOP in the 17th. Hence, Lamb may not even be running in the 18th District come November, but in the new 14th.
Before the Democrats pop the cork on the champagne and submit the United States to a fate worse than death- Nancy Pelosi- some other facts may intervene to alter that coronation. At one time, in the generic poll between parties, the Democrats held a huge lead at 14%. Although still trailing and there is work to be done, that gap has narrowed of late. Some polls put it down to 4%. A gap of 4-6% can be overcome with the correct messaging, especially in localized Congressional races.
Furthermore, the RNC has raised more funds in 2017 than its Democratic counterpart. In fact, the DNC has large financial liabilities. The RNC added over a million addresses to its e-mail list and has expanded their small donor online operations.
Although this writer does not believe that fund raising totals in and of themselves dictate the outcome of elections (it is about a 50/50 proposition), public opinion is shifting, which is more important, especially as concerns messaging. Most Americans and roughly 80% of business owners support the recently enacted tax reform measures. Another 40% of small business owners report they intend to use these tax savings to invest in their businesses. More than 460 American businesses have already announced wage increases for their employees. The stock market, which is important for those with pensions or a 401(k), despite recent volatility, remains near record highs. Meanwhile, unemployment is at its lowest levels in 17 years.
But what about that growing Hispanic population? As many polls have shown in the past and as they show now, there are four key issues which dominate Hispanic voter inclinations and none of them involve the word “immigration.” They are tax cuts, health insurance (especially repeal of the individual mandate), an all-of-the-above energy policy, and improved education through school choice. All of these are conservative ideas and ideals.
The Democrats are under the mistaken impression that Texas, for instance, is turning blue. In the long term, perhaps purple, but one suspects the predicted great blue wave of 2018 will pass gently over Texas. If Ted Cruz and Governor Abbott can garner 40% of the Hispanic vote in statewide elections, there is no reason Republicans cannot do the same in other states or districts with large Hispanic voting populations. The issue of immigration reform is a sideshow among legal, voter-eligible Hispanics and it is to they the GOP should focusing their message, not falling for Democratic rhetorical traps where the Republican candidate comes off portrayed as “anti-Hispanic.”
The greatest hope for the Republican Party is that they are not the Democratic Party which has lurched so far to the Left that many Democrats themselves have been turned off. As the economy vastly improves and paychecks grow, the messages of the Democrats- “impeach Trump,” open borders, gun control and identity politics- grow weaker and weaker.
Come November, it is more likely that voters will remember the name of Stormy Daniels than they will remember the name of any speaker at the March For Our Lives rally in DC. Even more likely is they will look at their paychecks and realize the great Trump Apocalypse has not occurred and they are doing quite alright. That is the message that wins voters: It’s the economy, stupid.