There have been a few articles recently that give us some sense of how the Republicans are approaching the midterms. Do they offer any clue for those of us who want to elect Democrats and flip Congress and state legislatures?
In The Trumpification of the GOP is Complete, the author notes that Republican candidates for both federal and down-ballot races are clinging to Trump. Not only that, but they are using Trump-style messages on the campaign trail. They want Trump’s base to show up at the polls.
Of course, this creates a problem for many of them when it comes to telling voters what policies they will advocate for if elected. Trump’s policies are all over the place and not always in line with what we might call traditional Republican policies.
In Republicans Seize on Impeachment for Edge in 2018 Midterms, the author outlines that the Republicans are aware of the enthusiasm gap with voters that currently benefits the Democrats. They need a strategy that will excite Republicans to get out and vote. Republican strategists have noticed in fundraising pitches, that warning that the Democrats will immediately start impeachment hearings if they flip the house, does very well.
Earlier this season, we saw during the special election for the Pennsylvania 18th District (which Democrat Conor Lamb won in an upset), that the Republicans tried to tout the “booming economy,” and the role of the GOP in making that happen, but they ultimately abandoned that strategy when it wasn’t moving the needle.
The Congressional Republicans, whose majority in the House is more at risk with a Democratic wave (than the Senate is), want their central message over the next 7 months to be how great the tax cuts are. Unfortunately for them, while the President would normally be the most important voice in getting that message out, Trump has proved to be very unreliable in that effort.
All in all, these are good things to be aware of. At the same time, it is important to note that a lot can change between now and November. It isn’t clear that a decent economy with continue if Trump escalates a trade war with China. It isn’t clear that talking about their successes in installing conservative judges will activate voters without a Supreme Court vacancy. It is impossible to know where Trump’s approval will be in November or how that will affect voters.