A huge victory for Democrats?
One year after their stunning loss to Donald J. Trump, the Democrats won big in the off-year elections in New Jersey and Virginia. These included governors’ races and down-ballot elections.
Democrats did well not only in urban areas but also in the suburbs, winning with both establishment types and progressives.
How did this happen?
One factor is that ten percent more Democrats than Republicans turned out to vote in Virginia. In 2016 many Democrats didn’t vote because either they thought that Hillary Clinton would win anyway and didn’t need them (Are some people too stupid for modern citizenship?) and/or they didn’t like her.
But this year they loath Mr. Trump and were glad to vote.
Translation: Democratic undervote was a big favor in 2016. It probably isn’t now.
Mr. Trump’s response to the defeat of Republican Ed Gillespie in the Virginia gubernatorial race showed his customary centeredness. It read in part: “Ed Gillespie worked hard but did not embrace me or what I stand for.”
None of this is good news for the Republican Party.
But what does it mean for one of the central political issues of the day – the attempt to impeach and remove President Trump?
“…Mr. Trump’s policies are more popular than he is and if it comes to an impeachment trial, that might save him.”
The Democrats are still weak. CNN has reported that the Democratic Party’s favorability rating among Americans is the lowest in 25 years of polling coming in at 37 percent. Among nonwhites it is 48% and for people under 35 years of age it is 33%. The good news for the Democrats is that the GOP favorability rating is 30 percent.
Moreover, Donald J. Trump won the presidency after a fractious primary season, a bungled convention, a spat with a Gold Star family, the “Hollywood Access” tapes, the opposition of at least thirteen Republican senators and the party establishment, defeat in the polls at all three debates, and the loss of the popular vote.
That suggests that even if the Democrats take the House of Representatives in 2018 and impeach Mr. Trump in 2019, he will hang on to enough senators from his party to gain acquittal as did Bill Clinton in 1999 and Andrew Johnson in 1868.
The President’s policies may also increase his chances to survive.
Mr Trump has failed in changing the Affordable Care Act and his tax plan may also be a loser. But his other policies and/or their supposed effects – conservatives appointed to the judiciary, a growing economy, a lessening of illegal immigration, the advances against ISIS, well-received foreign policy speeches in Saudi Arabia, Poland and South Korea, low inflation, low unemployment and greater energy production – these tend to poll above fifty percent favorability. The GOP senators know this and even if they don’t like Trump may not want to alienate grass roots Republicans who like his policies. To some degree that is what Senators Flake and Corker have done. Had they not announced for retirement, they might have faced strong primary opponents.
Translation: Mr. Trump’s policies are more popular than he is and if it comes to an impeachment trial, that might save him.
Time will tell and the Mueller investigation is a joker in the deck.
For now to the Democrats: Congratulations.