Wednesday, October 18, 2017


Matt Latimer, a former George W. Bush speechwriter and a critic of President Trump, tells us at Politico that congressional Republicans won't have any use for Trump if they get the one thing they want from him -- his signature on a tax cut bill:
... the tax cut bill is a trap. If Trump actually does sign it into law, he might as well be signing his political death warrant.

... The reason the tax cut bill is a danger to Trump is that it’s the one last thing keeping the bulk of his own party in line behind him.

... once Trump signs that bill, he faces his greatest danger: Republicans will finally have an achievement to run on as they seek reelection in 2018. Their donors and supporters will have a prize that eluded them through eight years of Obama.... Simply put, they won’t need the president anymore. After that, the investigative team assembled by special counsel Robert Mueller can do its worst. Mueller would actually be doing GOP leaders a favor.
But a McClatchy story explains why this is wrong:
Trump's small-dollar donors fuel surge in GOP fundraising

The Republican National Committee raised more than $100 million in the first nine months of 2017, marking the first time it has raised that much, that fast, in a non-presidential election year.

The record-breaking fundraising can be largely attributed to a flurry of small-dollar donors responding to fundraising appeals by the first Republican president in eight years, Donald Trump....

The numbers give Republicans a large cash advantage over Democrats as they look to retain control of both chambers of Congress in the midterm elections next year.

... through August, Republicans had raised almost twice as much as the Democrats and had nearly seven times as much money in the bank. The RNC had raised $93.3 million with $47.1 million cash on hand while the DNC raised $46.3 million and had $6.8 million cash on hand.
Republicans should be doomed right now. A new CNN poll says that Democrats have a 16-point advantage, 54%-38%, when respondents are asked whether they'd vote for a Democrat or a Republican in upcoming congressional elections. But the Trump cult is generating the money that can keep Republicans competitive.

Also, a Trumpian meme is keeping this year's Virginia gubernatorial race competitive. Virginia is a state that Hillary Clinton won by 5 points in 2016. In the governor's race, Republican Ed Gillespie beat an unabashed pro-Trumper in the Republican primary and hasn't sought a campaign appearance from Trump, but lately he's been attacking Democrat Ralph Northam as an MS-13 sympathizer because Northam doesn't take a Trump-like hard line on immigration.

And it's working. Northam has had a pretty good lead, but polls are tightening, and one new poll shows Gillespie with a small advantage.

Yes, on the other hand, a Fox News poll shows Democrat Doug Jones tied with Republican Roy Moore in the Alabama Senate special election. But that's an outlier poll that didn't screen for likely voters. And, of course, in that race Trump endorse Moore's opponent in the primary.

I still think Democrats have a solid shot to take the House, though probably not the Senate. But Trump cult worship, alas, is keeping Republicans in the game. It could drive GOP turnout next year, when you'd expect Republican voters to be disillusioned. The party won't turn its back on Trump as long as he's a moneymaker and a vote motivator.

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