Monday, February 12, 2018


Most people expect the 2018 elections to be a referendum on President Trump, with Republicans attempting to focus voters' attention on tax cuts and low unemployment.

You know what I always say: Republicans always look for a way to distract voters as elections approach, and in non-presidential elections they usually succeed. Today Axios's Mike Allen and Jonathan Swan confirm that Trump plans to run the Republicans' favorite trick play again:
Here's Trump's real plan for '18:

* A source close to the White House tells me that with an eye to getting Republicans excited about voting for Republicans in midterms, the president this year will be looking for "unexpected cultural flashpoints" — like the NFL and kneeling — that he can latch onto in person and on Twitter.

* The source said Trump "is going to be looking for opportunities to stir up the base, more than focusing on any particular legislation or issue."

... that is more evidence for our continuing reminder to you that Trump will be more Trump this year....
Remember that Trump has a couple of weapons Republicans didn't have in 2010 and 2014: In addition to Fox and right-wing websites, he'll have Russians amplifying his message on sketchy news sites and social media, as well as (I suspect) a domestic network of bots and/or paid trolls operating on a Russian model. The research and development will be done by Trump's outside allies, particularly Fox -- Trump's job is just to tweet, or to press a given issue in one of the many campaign appearances he's likely to make because he loves campaigning so much.

This year, however, it really might not work -- Democrats haven't been as fired up for a midterm election since 2006, and the would-be wedge issues Trump chooses might backfire and infuriate his opponents instead. But Republicans are going to fight to set the terms of the debate -- and if they succeed, we won't be talking about Trump or about policy.

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