How the Democrats will lose the Midterms

Yesterday, one of my Facebook friends told me that I had to be a “pretty big defeatist” to be worried that the Democrats won’t win the 2018 Midterms in a landslide. So lets lay out a few plausible scenarios and hope I don’t turn out to be the 2018 Cassandra in addition to the 2016 one.


There are only two possible outcomes over the next 17 months: either he completely screws the pooch, or he will get nothing major done. In my opinion, the second is more likely than the first. He’s already tired of the job and puts in fewer and fewer hours. Also, the rest of the world has become much more immune to his insane Tweets and speeches — especially since the rest of his administrations like Mattis and Tillerson immediately walk back his most insane tasks.

If he becomes normalized, it is bad news for a Democratic campaign that has run and will run on pure outrage. Even now, Republican voters don’t care and a year and a half from now, independents will also have run out of outrage.

If he completely looses it, Republicans in Congress and Republican candidates will turn and run against him easily, since he was never really one of them. Even if they upset his base, the looney bin will not suddenly switch to Democrats.

The economy

Astonishingly, Trump hasn’t wrecked world trade yet and there a no signs that the current worldwide economic growth climate is going to change for the worse. There might even be some short term positive economic effects from rolling back environmental and labor regulations (the long term effects on US competitiveness in a global environment are dismal, but they won’t manifest by November 2018).

As James Carville said: “It’s the economy, stupid” and the Republicans will go into the Midterms with the wind in their backs.

But what about ACA?

The ACA — or as it’s being called by the Senate, the Better Care Act, is very careful to not phase out Obamacare benefits until 2019/2020. So Republican voters will NOT have lost their insurance in November of 2018 and might just give Ryan, McConnell, and even Trump credit for “saving healthcare” if the collapse they predicted will not have happened. Since the Democratic Party is only offering a mealymouthed defense of Obamacare, and has been locked out of the BCA process, they’ll also be unable to present a better plan in the face of disaster and will just look like sore losers.

What about the environment?

Environmental damage is long term, so nothing much — except some local disasters due to lack of oversight — will happen. The same happened during the Obama years, so Republicans and Independents will not feel a huge urge to penalize candidates. And after 30+ years of predicting the imminent end of the earth due to the ozone hole, colony collapse, global warming, forest dieback and so on, it’s not a huge galvanizing issue anymore. Also, due to economic realities, a lot of Republican state governments are very active, even if they don’t talk about it to their more rabid base. For example Texas — the OIL STATE — is the US leader in wind energy.

But the Democrats will unite and fight!

Oh, fight they will! The DNC national and local leadership have already fought off the Sandinistas and closed ranks around Pelosi and Schumer. The Resistance Movement may have mobilized hundreds of thousands of people, but the DNC has not supported them in any way and more often than not actively hindered them. Remember that the only one who spoke at the march in DC was Elizabeth Warren. Nobody else!

For most of the House, Senate, and national leadership, the movement is a bigger enemy than their golf buddies on the other side of the aisle.

The DNC leadership will either loose the fight and the progressive candidates the long term obedient local operatives, or the party will loose the enthusiastic door knockers Sanders brought in. Either way, the ground game might be better given that the Clinton campaign actively hindered local volunteers, but it will not improve by orders of magnitude.

A menage of mediocrity

The Democrats have a gift for either not fielding candidates, or picking just about the worst possible fit in large swathes of the country. I could go on about this, but lets just take a look at the national leadership bench — or more precisely at the lack of one.

Kamelia Harris is obviously not running for reelection. But if she were, she’d be god’s gift to the Republican Party: a black woman from San Francisco who struggled a lot as city attorney and has enough skeletons in her closet to populate Democratic candidates’ graveyards from Wyoming to West Virginia.

Or Cory Booker who runs on his Newark Central Ward street cred while flashing his Apple Watch giving keynotes at SXSW.

And both are sill lightyears ahead of choosing carpetbagging 20-something filmmakers to run in deep red Georgia.

There may be a small chance that progressives will actively primary establishment candidates like the Tea Party did effectively in the early naughts, but we should remember that they initially weakened the Republican Party. And it’s not a big chance, since the Democrats have fewer suicidal loonies in their ranks. Partly because they are generally not as rabid and also because they flock to Jill Stein.

The money

Republicans will have bucketloads of bucketloads and if they copy Trump’s approach, might not need a lot.

The DNC will continue it’s tradition of spending their funds on consultants, tv ads, and consultants selling tv ads.

Obviously I might be wrong

Maybe Chuck will become the voice of anti-cooperatism as he promised just a couple of days ago. Nancy Pelosi — who I like a lot — will see the light and unite with the progressive forces. Someone will go John 2:15 on the consultant corps. And the Sandinistas and the status-quo Democratic operatives shall fight on the beaches, shall fight on the landing grounds, shall fight in the fields and in the streets, shall fight in the hills, and shall never surrender.

We all can dream, can’t we?