The suc­cess of the ‘Trump Ef­fect’

What the midterms mean for Trump, the Democrats and the 2020 race

The Washington Times Weekly - - Commentary - By Mon­ica Crow­ley

Now that the 2018 midterm elec­tion is over, one thing is clear: This wasn’t sim­ply a ref­er­en­dum on Pres­i­dent Trump. It was also a ref­er­en­dum on the Democrats, the left and the me­dia. And the split-de­ci­sion re­sults carry sig­nif­i­cant con­se­quences. First the bad news: The Democrats tak­ing ma­jor­ity con­trol of the House will re­shape the po­lit­i­cal en­vi­ron­ment for the next two years. It means a stalled Trump agenda, leg­isla­tive paral­y­sis, a likely dent in eco­nomic growth, sub­poena power wielded with wild aban­don, end­less in­ves­ti­ga­tions and an em­bold­ened #Re­sis­tance. They’re al­ready glee­fully twirling their col­lec­tive mous­tache as they plot new ways to tie Mr. Trump to the train tracks.

Now to the good news: First, Democrats sig­nif­i­cantly un­der­per­formed. The much-hyped “blue wave” was non-ex­is­tent. It was more like a blue trickle, and a his­tor­i­cally unim­pres­sive one at that. In 2010, Pres­i­dent Obama over­saw stag­ger­ing Demo­cratic losses in the House (63 seats) and in 1994, Pres­i­dent Clin­ton watched as Repub­li­cans picked up 54 House seats and eight Se­nate seats. This year, Democrats may pick up roughly 35 seats for a rel­a­tively nar­row ma­jor­ity. That’s a whim­per not a bang.

Mean­while, Repub­li­cans out­per­formed in the Se­nate, with Democrats hem­or­rhag­ing seats (and los­ing key gov­er­nor­ships). The Democrats who did win were mainly mod­er­ates, while most far-left pro­gres­sives run­ning on an in­ves­ti­ga­tion agenda and rad­i­cal poli­cies largely lost. Vot­ers ap­pear to want bal­ance, not re­sis­tance. Will Democrats learn this les­son? Likely not. Af­ter all, the faces of the Demo­cratic Party are now Nancy Pelosi, Hil­lary Clin­ton, El­iz­a­beth War­ren, Ka­mala Har­ris, Alexan­dria Oca­sio-Cortez, Bernie San­ders and Ruth Bader Gins­burg. Not ex­actly a win­ning cen­trist line-up.

Next, the Se­nate will be the Repub­li­can core strength over the next two years. With a newly ex­panded ma­jor­ity, the GOP will con­tinue to help Mr. Trump re­make the fed­eral ju­di­ciary. Two U.S. Supreme Court jus­tices and more than 80 fed­eral judges have been con­firmed in the first two years of his pres­i­dency, with up­wards of 100 more to swiftly fol­low.

Re­lated: Fol­low­ing the de­spi­ca­ble left­wing hit job on his Supreme Court nom­i­nee Brett Ka­vanaugh, Mr. Trump de­fined the midterms as the Ka­vanaugh elec­tion, and he suc­ceeded. The sole Se­nate Demo­crat to con­firm him, Joe Manchin of West Vir­ginia, sur­vived while ev­ery other red state Demo­crat who op­posed him bit the dust.

This brings us to the Trump Ef­fect, which is more po­tent than ever. He’s the only bull­horn that mat­ters. Repub­li­can can­di­dates suc­ceeded in places where the pres­i­dent com­mit­ted his time, re­sources and star power. All 2020 Repub­li­can can­di­dates should take note: Don’t run away from Mr. Trump. Em­brace him. It will serve you well.

An­other sil­ver lin­ing to the House re­sults: Mr. Trump is at his most ef­fec­tive when he’s got a beastly foil against whom to run. Hil­lary Clin­ton was the per­fect vil­lain for him. With one back­hand — “Crooked Hil­lary” — and re­lent­less fol­low-on at­tacks on her cor­rupt char­ac­ter and record, Mr. Trump de­stroyed her.

Nancy Pelosi as speaker of the House will be manna from Heaven for his re-elec­tion ef­fort. Mr. Trump will spend the next two years run­ning against the Democrats’ de­struc­tive poli­cies and their rad­i­cal and crusty left-wing lead­er­ship from Mrs. Pelosi to Max­ine Wa­ters and Adam Schiff. Their in­evitable in­ves­tiga­tive feed­ing frenzy lead­ing to a go-nowhere im­peach­ment will go over like a lead bal­loon. MSNBC and CNN may cel­e­brate their re­lent­less as­sault, but the rest of the coun­try will re­ject the fu­tile par­ti­san over­reach.

Mr. Trump, mean­while, will in­ces­santly pound them into the ground, thereby not just guar­an­tee­ing his own re-elec­tion but de­liv­er­ing the House back to Repub­li­can con­trol.

So Democrats should en­joy their mo­men­tary suc­cess be­cause be­gin­ning to­day, Mr. Trump is go­ing to de­vour them like a din­ner party hors d’oeu­vre.

The midterm re­sults made an­other thing clear: Star power can­not be ar­ti­fi­cially man­u­fac­tured.

All 2020 Repub­li­can can­di­dates should take note: Don’t run away from Mr. Trump. Em­brace him. It will serve you well.

Democrats pushed three can­di­dates as their “next big things”: Texas Se­nate con­tender Robert “Beto” O’Rourke, Ge­or­gia gu­ber­na­to­rial can­di­date Stacey Abrams and Florida gu­ber­na­to­rial can­di­date An­drew Gil­lum. Mr. O’Rourke, who spent a stag­ger­ing $70 mil­lion, was given the full rock star treat­ment by the party and me­dia and still lost. Ms. Abrams brought in Oprah, and Mr. Gil­lum show­cased Mr. Obama. They all went down in flames. The se­duc­tive power of the left-wing po­lit­i­cal celebrity seems to have hit a wall.

There is a fi­nal bit of good news. Amer­ica has sur­vived bad Con­gresses be­fore and it will sur­vive this one, too -- par­tic­u­larly given the Repub­li­can strength in the Se­nate. But pol­i­tics is a for­ward-look­ing, not back­ward­look­ing, game. Af­ter all, as the last bal­lots were be­ing counted this week, the start­ing pis­tol on 2020 was fired. Buckle up. Mon­ica Crow­ley is a colum­nist for The Wash­ing­ton Times


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