Republican pollsters and strategists met with the White House and warned them that the issues don’t matter because the midterm election is all about how voters feel about Trump.
At the White House, anxiety over the midterms has been on the rise for months as polls increasingly show a challenging environment for the GOP and heightened Democratic enthusiasm. The sheer number of competitive races in both the House and Senate is stretching cash reserves and forcing tough calculations about where to deploy resources and surrogates. And there are growing fears that the coalition of voters that delivered Trump to the White House will not come out for midterms.
Even if those voters do show up in large numbers, Republicans could still come up short. The polling presented to White House officials, which was commissioned by the Republican National Committee, showed that Trump’s loyal supporters make up about one-quarter of the electorate. Another quarter is comprised of Republicans who like Trump’s policies but not the president himself and do not appear motivated to back GOP candidates. And roughly half of expected midterm voters are Democrats who are energized by their opposition to the president.
Trump Is Motivating Democrats More Than Republicans
Opposition to Trump is motivating Democrats more than support for Trump is motivating Republicans. Trump made the 2016 election all about Hillary Clinton, so 2018 is the first time that he has been the focus of voter ire on the ballot. Trump has tried his best to change the subject. He rants about the Mueller investigation, declares the press the enemy of the people, and has continued to try to divide Americans on immigration, but nothing has worked because this election is all about Trump.
Trump is motivating Democrats more than Republicans. It is Democrats who have been inspired by the Trump presidency to get to the polls and vote. The 2016 election reminded Democrats of the urgency of the moment and the consequences of not showing up on Election Day. Trump‘s base of core support has gotten smaller since he took office.
If Democrats follow through and vote in November, the midterm election is going to be a bloodbath for Republicans.
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Mr. Easley is the founder/managing editor and Senior White House and Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association