Muftic: Why democrats will struggle in the midterms
September 5, 2017
A recent CNBC analysis concludes that the GOP could still win the midterms in 2018 despite low approval ratings for President Trump. Math and maps are working against the Democrats.
Common wisdom is that in normal mid-term election years, Democrats always have challenges since they draw strength from young voters and minorities who tend not to turn out to vote in non-presidential years. Gerrymandering and constitutional provisions favor rural areas and smaller states,as well. More Democratic senate and House seats are in jeopardy than Republican seats.
There is nothing normal about the state of politics in the US. What throws a monkey wrench into the usual suppositions is that a divisive President Trump is fracturing the Republican party. Trump's single minded intent to appeal to his "base" is part of the cause of the division. He further alienates and chastises members of Congress and threatens them with a primary if they do not support all of his issues or his leadership style. As this rift deepens, so does the possibility increase that there will be internal fights within the party or that the GOP would break up into two parties: Nationalists and traditional Republicans or their primaries could turn into ideological brawls. The losing faction could sit on their hands in the general election, giving Democrats a chance to win marginal districts.
Another scenario is that a new centrist movement would emerge in time for the 2020 presidential election cycle that would draw from more traditional Republicans and moderate Democrats, leaving the alt-right nationalists as a separate party and the ideological progressives from the Sanders' wing in the remaining Democratic party. Republican Ohio Gov. John Kasich and Democrat Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper floated a trial balloon through a spokesperson that they were contemplating joining together in an independent unity ticket for president. They immediately shot it down, Hickenlooper by Tweet and Kasich on Meet the Press. The two governors had joined together earlier to urge repair of Obamacare instead of the GOP's very unpopular plan to repeal and replace it. Perhaps that bi-partisan, centrist spirit could at least infect Congress.
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