What happened to the “blue wave”?
According to a recent Economist/YouGov poll, Democrats maintain a mere 42 to 38 percent advantage over Republicans on the generic congressional ballot. As of today, the “blue wave” will be more trickle than a tsunami.
Several factors have Republicans trending in the right direction.
First, the U.S. economy is showing no signs of slowing down. America’s unemployment rate currently stands at 3.8 percent — the lowest it’s been since 2000. Claims for unemployment insurance, meanwhile, remain at historic lows. Economic growth for the spring period — which runs from April to June — could even top five percent for the first time in 15 years.
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which President Donald Trump signed last December, has clearly benefitted working Americans. More than 625 U.S. employers have used their tax savings to hand out pay raises, bonuses, and other employee benefits. Not only are job creators more confident and investing again, but their workers are also seeing heftier paychecks and showing higher levels of consumer confidence.
If James Carville’s famous words — “it’s the economy, stupid” — check out, then Republicans have plenty of reasons to be optimistic.
The political landscape is also shifting in their favor. Justice Anthony Kennedy’s decision to retire from the Supreme Court leaves a void that could boost Republican turnout in November. In fact, over 80 percent of Republicans claim the upcoming Brett Kavanaugh fight will make them more likely to vote for a Senate candidate from their party.
For months, control of the White House and Congress weighed on Republican enthusiasm in 2018. But Kavanaugh’s appointment will only narrow the enthusiasm gap. Even the left-leaning political analyst Nate Silver concedes “Kennedy’s retirement probably offers more political upside than downside for Republicans.” As the National Review’s David French put it: “A new Supreme Court pick will galvanize the entire base for months.”
At the same time, Democrats are doubling down on their “open borders” platform and lurching leftward on immigration — the Trump administration’s signature issue. Perhaps more than any other factor, Americans’ desire for heightened border security propelled Trump to the White House. The latest Harvard-Harris poll shows that 70 percent of registered voters believe in stricter enforcement of our immigration laws.
But Democrats still haven’t learned the lesson of 2016. In fact, many prominent Democrats are blatantly siding with illegal immigrants over American citizens. Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) — two 2020 presidential hopefuls — recently called for the abolition of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, which works to enforce our immigration laws and secure our borders. Cynthia Nixon, actress-turned-Democratic candidate for New York governor, even called ICE a “terrorist organization.”
Is that really the way to win elections? By denouncing American law enforcement officials as terrorists?
Democrats are also embracing big-government socialism as a campaign platform — despite its overwhelming unpopularity and our booming free-market economy. After Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s surprise primary win over Rep. Joe Crowley (D-NY), Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez called her the “future of our party.”
Ocasio-Cortez vows to abolish ICE and “clear the path to citizenship” for all illegal immigrants. Amnesty has been a failed campaign issue for decades — the issue practically writes campaign ads for itself.
A member of the left-wing Justice Democrats, Ocasio-Cortez also believes in a single-payer healthcare system, which would cost well over $1 trillion — another losing campaign issue. Yet DNC officials now see her as the second coming of Barack Obama.
Apparently, a platform of high taxes, open borders, and government run amok is the Democrats’ way of sticking it to President Trump. It’s no wonder that roughly 90 percent of Republicans approve of the president — one of the highest intra-party approval ratings since World War II.
Don’t hold your breath for a “blue wave.” This Democratic Party isn’t ready to crash ashore — it’s just crashing and burning.
Guy Short (@shortguy1) is a former congressional chief of staff, six-time Republican National Convention delegate, and Republican strategist with over 25 years of experience in politics.
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