Much as we Democrats hate the fact that it is considered a matter of course that the Republicans will at least win back the House (the Senate is a tougher map) it is, infuriatingly, considered a matter of course because it likely is. But given the fact that Trump has already demonstrated that he can blow up two seats in the Senate and hand the body to the Democrats, Republicans – the Mitch McConnell-type, are increasingly worried about the fact that Trump is sticking his nose into everything, polluting what would otherwise be a pristine conservative environment.
Politico dedicates much of its morning Playbook (too much) to the topic and lays out the obvious. Trump’s willingness and ability to stick his nose into everything, from the Ukrainian war, to gas prices, inflation, the January 6th explosive revelations, utterly terrifies the GOP. Recall, the Republicans’ most significant win in 2021 was a gubernatorial race in a purple-blue state, Virginia, and Glenn Youngkin won by pretending Trump didn’t exist.
Most moderate GOP House candidates in moderate districts won’t have that luxury and they can’t even be sure that such an environment will even be possible, as it was in the fall of 2021. Unlike in Virginia, most Republican candidates in moderate districts do still need the hardened MAGA voters. But Trump is still busy telling them that elections really don’t matter because they’re obviously rigged because he’s obviously not the president.
As Politico notes, despite a war in Europe, a new budget, and SCOTUS nominee, Trump dominated the news cycle last week through January 6th revelations, the Thomas’s, the void in the call log, Kushner, and – this is almost art – in pulling his endorsement of Mo Brooks, Trump might have just created the Select Committee’s single most powerful witness against him. Brooks is now hinting he’ll cooperate with the Select Committee and he might explain why he wore body armor under his coat that day.
Trump even called upon Putin to release all Hunter Biden-related records with Russian oligarchs. Trump has not – to our knowledge – called upon Putin to leave Ukraine immediately. Imagine the usefulness of that message; “We are talking about a man who demanded Putin hand over Hunter but not Ukraine.”
Except some Democrats aren’t convinced that focusing on Trump is the way to go. As Politico notes:
There is a debate among Democrats about whether there is any strategic value in making Trump the center of the election. The moderate Dems barely clinging to their seats insist they have no interest in talking about him. The make-2022-about-Trump faction insists that the only way to recreate the Dem surges of 2018 and 2020 is to recreate the Trump-saturated political environment of those years when right-leaning suburbanites flocked to the Dems.
Yes, well, good luck trying to run with inflation outpacing wages (Thank you Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Simena). Even Politico acknowledges that the debate may be moot because Trump is going to dump all this slop in the Democrats’ laps while claiming that he left the nation in a perfect state (with about 1,500 people dying a day from COVID). The economy dominates nearly every election and the U.S. is suffering economic troubles that are rooted in a complex global market, one beyond our control, that is dealing with COVID, along with the fact that Trump set the stage for an economic pullback by ensuring that COVID acts as an anchor upon that part of the economy we can control.
Besides, as said, Trump is going to be talking about “rigged” stuff anyway. It will be time to embrace the horror and test whether or not Trump really can blow a victory, one assumed as a matter of course. This is all silly. Of course, he can.
Jason Miciak is a political writer, features writer, author, and attorney. He is originally from Canada but grew up in the Pacific Northwest as a dual Canadian-American citizen, which he grows increasingly thankful for every day. He now enjoys life as a single dad, writing from the beaches of the Gulf Coast, getting advice from his beloved daughter and teammate. He is very much the dreamy mystic that cannot add and loves dogs more than most people. He also likes studying cooking, theoretical physics, cosmology, and quantum mechanics. He likes pizza.
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