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Outsiders vs. Insiders: Distracted conservatives equate to disastrous Democrat gains in 2018

Try, if you will, to name a person who has made up his or her mind almost a year and a half in advance as to who they will vote for in the 2018 elections.

It really shouldn’t be all that difficult since probably about 90 percent of Americans have indeed decided that they’ll tap the electronic screen for the Republican or Democrat candidate whoever it may be. In today’s hyper-Donald Trumppartisan environment there isn’t much room for ambivalence – either you’re with us or against us is the battle cry of the hour for devotees of both parties.

And for those who’ve maintained for years that there needs to be discernible contrast in the parties, President Donald Trump appears to be providing it to us. Conservatives and Republicans like the difference, Democrats hate it.

Despite the considerable number of days between now and November 2018, “moderates” in the House GOP caucus are getting antsy about their reelection prospects.

David M. Drucker of the Washington Examiner reports, “Swing seat Republicans have been trying to manage the tension between loyalty to the president and a GOP legislative agenda they are generally on board with, and fidelity to the voters in their district, many of whom oppose conservative policies, such as repealing Obama's health care law.

“But the eruptions out of the White House — unforced errors by Trump — are making it harder for them to walk that line. It's harder to explain a tough vote on Republican legislative priorities when the president is generating so much opposition at home based on concerns about his competency.”

Drucker’s story indicated that as of now Democrats are ahead on the generic congressional ballot by seven points. I highly doubt that’s the case since Trump remains popular with the people who voted for him last year, but for now we’ll go with it.

What to do if you’re an apprehensive Republican congressman? How about showing a little “independence”?

If Speaker Paul Ryan were half a leader he could devise an easy way to pass Trump’s agenda and still appease the wishy-washy politics-wary members of his own caucus. Even in these “swing” districts where there are roughly an equal number of Democrats and Republicans, most people have already settled on which party to support in 2018, so the “centrist” GOP members really only have to play to say, 20 percent of voters at the maximum.

There will be more than enough attention-grabbing issues in the coming months where Ryan could count heads and grant permission to designated “centrists” to vote against the Trump side and still pass the bills through. Who knows, such a strategy might’ve even been implemented previously when the House passed the most recent version of the American Health Care Act by a three-vote margin without a single “yea” from a Democrat.

(Note: There is some evidence that the House may need to vote again on the bill. Check out this report from Breitbart.)

Such horse trading would be bothersome to anyone with real principles but since the “centrists” are mainly interested in getting reelected anyway – as opposed to simply keeping campaign promises – they can each defy Trump enough times where they could truthfully claim “independence” from him in their home districts.

Isn’t that what they really want anyhow?

Extending the logic, Ryan’s establishment cronies would improvise a confidential printout list for the members of the mushy-moderate Tuesday Group and divide them into four subgroups, A, B, C and D. Groups A and D could vote no on healthcare, groups B and C could go wobbly on tax reform and so on… If everyone in each group voted “nay” on say 25% of the Trump conservative agenda they could straightforwardly proclaim to their constituents at election time, “See, I told you I wasn’t afraid to vote against Trump!

At the same time, other Republican candidates in borderline districts could plead, “Hey, I’ll be an independent Republican like Charlie Dent and vote my conscience.”

Meanwhile, conservatives would be passing real legislation, Trump would shine like an effective leader and heck, even Paul Ryan would stop looking like a hapless dolt. Democrats aren’t smart enough to connect the dots; Republicans would dispel all the “we can’t govern” nonsense and the country ends up the winner with an economy that hums along and a political system that functions, albeit somewhat artificially.

The Senate has its own problems but there’s other means to make it work in the upper chamber, too.

Nonetheless, there are those who surmise all of the accumulated weight of the media scandals will eventually catch up to Trump, arguing there is some sort of “tipping point” out there waiting in the undefined future.

Jonathan S. Tobin of National Review concluded, “There may be no such thing as a Trumpian act that will constitute a tipping point in the sense of making Republicans openly abandon him. The real tipping point for Trump may be the moment when he will have so depressed his base that it will no longer constitute an effective counterbalance to the Democrats’ resistance media machine.

“When that point is reached, GOP majorities and any hope that Trump can successfully govern may be gone. If that isn’t something that will scare the Trump White House into a genuine if probably futile attempt to keep the president’s loose lips in check, nothing is.”

If you commonly listen to the liberal media pundits from the usual sources you would’ve gathered Trump’s “tipping point” was reached somewhere between June of 2015 when the New Yorker announced his candidacy and today when the chattering class can’t quit convulsing over everything the president says, does or doesn’t do.

Lost in all of this panic and hysteria is the fact conservatives haven’t changed one bit towards the issues they care about. The media may freak out about James Comey, Vladimir Putin or Trump’s tweet of the hour but the average person in heartland America worries a lot more about whether the local factory will reopen or if the job market is improving.

Granted it’s always challenging for out-of-touch journalists and TV media personalities to appreciate what real people care about, but if Americans didn’t give much credence to Trump’s alleged snub of Gold Star father Kizr Khan last August, what makes the talkers believe that any of this recent turmoil is going to sway the people now?

Why don’t Democrats ever want to discuss the issues? Why do they still obsess over Trump when it did them so little good last year?

Maybe it’s because some of them are looking past 2018 to 2020. Caitlin Huey-Burns of Real Clear Politics reported last week, “[Sen. Corey] Booker was one of several speakers thought to be in the running for the Democratic nomination in 2020. Just 117 days into the Trump administration, more senators than not seem to be weighing a presidential run. Booker joined colleagues Elizabeth Warren, Chris Murphy, Kamala Harris, Kirsten Gillibrand and Amy Klobuchar at the CAP ‘ideas’ conference at the posh Four Seasons hotel in Georgetown. Govs. Terry McAuliffe of Virginia, Steve Bullock of Montana and Roy Cooper of North Carolina were also featured speakers. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti gave the opening keynote.

“Just six months after the most divisive, exhaustive and shocking campaign in memory, Democrats are already ginning up talk of their next chance to take on Trump, embarking on book tours, raising money for the party, endorsing local candidates, cultivating grassroots and digital networks, and making trips to early-voting states.”

In other words, Democrats are tipping their hand early on their 2020 strategy: Get the media talking about Trump and nothing else. It’s a strategy destined to fail; being against something isn’t enough. Democrats never learn.

More than anything conservatives and Republicans need to take a step back from all of this fury, breathe into a paper bag if necessary and try to remember, as the Bible teaches, “This too shall pass.” President Trump will no doubt stir up the liberal hornets’ nest dozens of times between now and next November, but the people themselves aren’t easily fooled.

If Republicans would only extricate their heads from the political sand and take the long view – and focus on issues rather than Trump’s perceived foibles – they’d be just fine. The Democrats had better pray their opponents continue to be distracted.

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