In the congressional elections of 1998, the Republicans failed to gain seats in either the House or the Senate despite the historic advantage that the out-of-power party normally enjoys in the sixth year of a two-term incumbent’s presidency.
Now, in 2018, the Democrats are making exactly the same mistake … and will likely have the same result.
The names have changed.
Instead of Kenneth Starr, we have Robert Mueller.
Monica Lewinsky has been replaced by Stormy Daniels.
And the part of the offender, once played by Bill Clinton, is now performed by Donald Trump.
But the plot is the same: Members of the out-of-power party seize on a sex scandal that they resolutely contend is about everything but sex.
Just as Republicans said, again and again, that the Lewinsky scandal was not about sex but about Clinton’s lying under oath, so the Democrats claim that the Daniels affair is all about extortion, bribery and election law violations — not about a porn star and the president.
But in 2018, as in 1998, the public knows better.
Many Americans are disgusted by the Democratic tendency to wallow in the Stormy scandal even as President Trump addresses the nation’s problems.
Since L’Affaire Daniels has captured the heart of the liberal media, Trump’s job approval has risen from 41 percent on April 23 to 44.4 percent now.
More impressively, the Reuters-Ipsos Poll reports that more than 50 percent of the voters rate his performance approvingly on employment and jobs (59 percent), the economy (57 percent), defeating ISIS (58 percent), taxes (52 percent) and immigration (50 percent).
So while the Democrats talk only about Stormy, Trump is putting real gains on the board.
The Democrats are acting like they have nothing else to talk about. They have bet all their marbles on Mueller and his probe and on Daniels.
They just do not seem to realize that, however glittering the headlines may be, and however titillating the story line may appear, the Stormy Daniels scandal is just not a credible basis for a party to use in winning an election. It’s fool’s gold.
Dick Morris is a former adviser to President Bill Clinton as well as a political author, pollster and consultant.
His most recent book, “Rogue Spooks,” was written with his wife, Eileen McGann.
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