Does Trump want a Republican Congress? The likely answer is no. At-risk Congressmen like to pretend the answer is yes. They think they have shared policy objectives so it’s better not speak or vote out against the outrage of the day. Heads in the sand, they hope the same turnout dynamic happens in 90 days that happened in 2016, so it’s better to rely on Trump than cross him.
Trump can not really endorse anyone because he is a candidate of scarcity not a candidate of connection. To show need for anyone else lessens himself, a form of vulnerability. That’s intolerable to him. The only thing more intolerable might be having to pass legislation. Boring.
Another red-blooded rock ribbed Republican congressional district added to a heaping helping of warning signs Tuesday. There was a victory margin likely to just barely survive a recount in Ohio-12’s special. GOP House leader Cathy McMorris Rodgers in the same district Speaker Foley famously lost in ’94 now in a Toss-Up race is another symbolic seismic shift, one of many whose probabilities are moving left now. Meanwhile, the “Trump before Trump” candidate in PA-18 already lost a previously +20 Trump CD. Republicans lost an Alabama Senate seat, and have been reduced to ashes in Virginia even before the disaster of a gubernatorial nominee.
It’s not a Trump issue that the party in power often loses seats. It is a Trump issue that the leader of the party doesn’t care. Every rally he does purportedly on behalf of one of the candidates from Biff’s Gang now bound to lose winnable races by 15 features is a litany of the usual maelstrom of self-aggrandizement. Crowd pleasing, just not much of a reason to vote for someone not named Trump.
Who gains if the Democrats win the House and Senate? Besides Democrats, obviously…it’s Trump. The man with protean ideology and extraordinary self-regard doesn’t have to do anything for two years beyond watch TV, rally and tweet. There will be more people to give nicknames to, to be the stock villains in his commedia dell’arte.
Better yet, he will be come 2020, the only thing standing between [insert name of Democratic Socialist here] and power. The base has to rally to him again, there will be no Flake or Kasich or whoever moderate independent run that would siphon votes. If you think the screws are tight on NeverTrumpers now wait til there is a Democratic Senate.
If he does do anything it will be easy to find common ground – spending. A couple of trillion here, couple of trillion there and soon you’re talking about real money. The bond vigilantes are in abeyance as the industrial world ages and buys bonds (for now) and tea party voters don’t care anymore. So he’ll do what the Democrats want him to do because the only thing he cares about are real or perceived wins. A massively wasteful infrastructure bill will be a lock. There will be less griping from Congress the only issue he’s consistent on in public life: tariffs. He might even get congressional authorization for his wrecking ball there.
Impeachment and Removal from Office isn’t happening. Finding common ground to spend, spend, spend will vitiate any effort on the former step, and the latter requires 2/3rds of the Senate. Democrats winning seats from Republicans want to avoid the issue and will cite the lessons for the GOP from Clinton…hold your fire til 2020.
Trump’s next two years will be a reprise of the Schwarzenegger Governorship. A celebrity semi-conservative mostly concerned with popularity will do what’s popular after being rebuked by voters. The signs of this are already legion.
The Faustian bargain Republicans made will come due. Having lost their souls for marginal tax and regulatory policy changes and two Supreme Court seats, we’ll get tariffs and debt. Not to mention near complete annihilation of the Goldwater-to-Reagan tradition.