Trump’s Luck

One of the reasons that I’m glad I’m not a Democrat – in addition to the obvious one that I mostly disagree with the party’s policy prescriptions – is that if I were, I would be going into a deep depression about the way that the party’s leaders are behaving. Because of their ferocious dislike of the president, and the echo chambers in which they live and breathe, they are acting like idiots. I am convinced that the American people are noticing or will get around to doing so by election time.

To begin, by presenting a uniformly sullen image during the State of the Union address last week, Congressional Democrats may have telegraphed their righteous hatred of all things Trump to their most fervent volunteers and donors, but would the broader audience really appreciate their insistent unwillingness to cheer, for example, the lowest-ever black unemployment rate? I think not. Their better political tactic would have been to have clapped enthusiastically – and claimed that the improvements were results of Obama’s good work. After all, it’s a given that voters are always hoping for good news, and it sure looked like the Democrats were not.

Their behavior on major issues – immigration, taxes and the FISA memo – has incorporated even worse political positioning than the miserable image they presented to the SOTU’s national audience.

When the president offered to support a path to citizenship for 1.8m “dreamers” in return for building the wall and ending both chain immigration and the diversity lottery, the leaders of the Democratic party tripped over each other to denounce the offer, making it seem as if they simply favor open immigration – a manifestly unpopular position. Building the wall – i.e., enforcing our laws – and ending forms of immigration that have nothing to do with our national interest are broadly popular ideas; the Democrats should have accepted them and declared victory on the “dreamers” since a path to citizenship for 1.8m is great improvement (from their perspective) over the non-enforcement that Obama had offered to 800,000.

On taxes, the Democrats screamed bloody murder – mostly, in my view, because the new law made living in high-tax blue states more expensive for the high-income people who are their big donors. They ignored the fact that most middle-income taxpayers have gotten a tax cut (twice described as “peanuts’ by the rich, powerful and not terribly self-aware Nancy Pelosi). Meanwhile, the new law has demonstrably benefitted the economy by encouraging major corporations to repatriate hundreds of billions of dollars, and made the US more attractive as a place to produce goods. Once upon a time, the Democrats proudly protected middle-income working people; no more, it seems.

And finally, what can Congressional Democrats be thinking in their stance that the FISA memo is at best a partisan irrelevancy? Yeah, yeah, yeah, we all know that they hate Trump and would be thrilled to impeach him for something, anything, but unless the allegations in the memo are flat-out false – and not even the FBI has alleged that – those allegations and the way that the Hillary Clinton (non-)investigation was handled point to terrible abuses of power by politically partisan officials at the FBI. The ‘we neither know nor care about any of that – as long as these actions advance our partisan goals, it’s all good’ positioning by leading Democrats is not a good look. We know that they had rigged their own primary, but they should at least pretend to care about a possible effort to rig the election itself.

New presidents almost always get shellacked in their first off-year election, and the consensus among pundits is that because of that pattern and Trump’s deep unpopularity with half the electorate, this year’s election will bring a gigantic blue wave. Fiercely partisan Democrats, among whom the leadership are clearly numbered, further believe that maybe, just maybe, the wave will be big enough so that Trump will be swept out with the tide.

But I don’t think – especially in light of how the Democrats are presenting themselves – that the American people are hoping for either of those outcomes. I think they just want America to win.

President Trump won the election at least in part because he faced a truly awful candidate in the general election – a woman who was (and is!) entitled, self-righteous and dishonest to or past the point of criminality. Judging from the behavior of leading Democrats since the election, it looks likely to me that Trump’s luck will hold.


M.H. Johnston

One comment to Trump’s Luck

  • Anonymous  says:

    who was (and is!) entitled, self-righteous and dishonest to or past the point of criminality….

    Describes Mr. Trump equally, or possibly more than Mrs. Clinton, don’t you think?

    We shouldn’t hold him to a lower standard.

    He is the wrong messenger, even if we like parts of his message.

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