Sunday, July 30, 2017


On Friday, Steven Pearlstein of The Washington Post wrote this:
Remember this day, July 28, 2017: The day Donald Trump became a lame duck president. More significantly, the day the tea party revolution ended and Washington began the return to “regular order.”
This would be news to Republicans, who seem determined to make our politics even Trumpier. The Hill reports:
President Trump’s approval rating might be stagnant nationally, but he still enjoys strong support with many of the GOP primary voters who will decide crucial Senate primaries ahead of the 2018 midterm election.

So Republican candidates in states that Trump carried in November are beginning to hammer their opponents as unfaithful supporters of the president to gain an edge in their primaries....

Support for Trump has become the defining issue in Alabama’s upcoming Senate primary, where Sen. Luther Strange (R-Ala.) and his allies are pummeling Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.) for critical comments he made about Trump during the 2016 primary.

The attacks, levied by Strange’s campaign and allies like the Senate Leadership Fund, which has earmarked up to $10 million to support Strange in the bid to permanently fill Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s former Senate seat, have so far dominated the race....

In Michigan, former Trump state campaign co-chairwoman Lena Epstein has made her support of Trump a key part of her primary bid. Barring any long-shot bid by musician Kid Rock, Epstein has a clear lane as the pro-Trump candidate in the race thanks to her campaign experience.

She’s campaigned as an unabashed supporter of Trump — she signs emails to her supporters as “2016 Trump co-chairman," called for Attorney General Jeff Sessions to resign because of Trump’s disappointment in him and regularly promises to support Trump’s “America First" agenda.
AP finds more evidence of conservatives rallying to Trump:
To the American Conservative Union, the three Republican senators who blocked the stripped-down repeal bill that failed in the wee hours Friday are “sellouts.” A Trump-sanctioned super political action committee did not rule out running ads against uncooperative Republicans, which it did recently against Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev....

“If you look at competitive [House] districts, swing districts, or districts where Republicans could face primary challenges, this is something that will be a potent electoral issue,” Republican pollster Chris Wilson said of his party’s health care failure. “I don’t think this is something voters are going to forget.”

One such challenger has emerged. Conservative activist Shak Hill, a former Air Force pilot, plans to run against second-term GOP Rep. Barbara Comstock in a competitive northern Virginia district.

Hill told The Associated Press that Comstock, who voted against a GOP House health care repeal bill in May, “has failed the moral test of her time in Congress.”

The leaders of other groups, such as Women Vote Trump, have begun to court primary challengers to punish those members of Congress deemed insufficiently committed to President Donald Trump’s agenda.

“I expect that we will get involved in primaries,” said the group’s co-founder, Amy Kremer. “You cannot continue to elect the same people over and over again and expect different results.”
Some of this could be suicidal -- replacing more moderate incumbents with hardcore Trumpers in swing districts might lead to defeats where the incumbents could have eked out victories. But it's possible that some of these Trump loyalists could win, and thus push the GOP Congress in a more pro-Trump direction.

I think both things could be true. Even without primary challenges, I think the GOP Congress could become Trumpier, because it will be easier to beat swing-district Republicans, who are generally more moderate.

I believe Democrats will do well in the midterms, at least in House races, but it's far from certain that they'll take control of the House (they're unlikely to take the Senate). The House survivors of the GOP midterms will be from redder, and therefore more pro-Trump, districts.

Maybe this will change if GOP voters finally get fed up with Trump, but I'm not counting on that. I'm predicting now that his Gallup numbers won't slip this week, even though everyone believes last week was terrible for him. To Trumpers, failure just reinforces the God Emperor's claims of sabotage by the media and the Deep State.

So the deplorables still maintain a lot of control our politics. The GOP propaganda machine and the GOP's work to neutralize Democratic votes continue to be effective. And as long as money in politics works the way it does now, Republicans in Congress will be Kochites and teabaggers. So the Trump/Tea Party era isn't over -- not by a long shot.

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