John Zogby Strategies: Moving Into 2019
From Forbes, by John Zogby
Republican Congressional candidates have not only just lost their seventh straight special election in previously GOP held seats, but they have also lost a special Senate election in Alabama. Democrats have serious internal problems, not the least of which is evidence that the Progressive-Mainstream wings are not just fighting but also hate each other and are working against each other. However, at this point in time, Republican leaders in Congress are clearly worried about November 2018 – and they should be.
On Tuesday, Democrat Conor Lamb barely won his seat against a flawed and lackluster Republican Rick Saccone in Pennsylvania’s 18th Congressional District, a region that President Donald Trump carried by 22 points just two years ago, and this is even as the White House incumbent campaigned for Saccone. While Mr. Trump’s aides suggest that the Trump Comedy Show actually prevented an even worse loss for Saccone, the numbers speak for themselves. Mr. Saccone under-performed the President everywhere in the district and Election Day interviews with some GOP loyalists revealed a genuine disappointment with both Mr. Trump and with the Republican Party.
Republicans, now aware that Mr. Trump may not be the ace in the hole they once figured he would be in predominantly white and conservative areas, still think they have two potent arguments in their favor: the overall state of the economy/job growth and the GOP tax cuts. The low unemployment rate and growing rate of wage increases may be a boon to the ruling party, but the tax cuts appear to be a dud as far as voters are concerned. Public opinion polls show that voters are again more deeply concerned about health care coverage, about job quality, about the cost of education, and now about school safety. In fact, in a Politico/Morning Consult Poll released on February 21, a majority of workers polled (51%) said they have not noticed any change in their paychecks and only 32% of Republicans said they noticed any difference at all.
Added to the mix is the continuing demographic revolution. As of today, the Barack Obama winning coalition of 2008 and 2012, which seems to have taken sabbaticals in 2010, 2014 and 2016, is now back with a vengeance. Mr. Trump has gone out of his way to alienate Hispanics and African Americans and now both groups are energized once again to vote. And now with the “Enough” Movement among women and the gun control lobbying among teens and twenty-somethings (who only know a world of school shootings), the evidence is clear that the Obama coalition is back.
This is not to say that the Democrats cannot blow this lead. Nasty infighting, charges of party conspiracies against progressives, and the ruling elite of overpaid campaign consultants and their bands of immature operatives who come into districts and wreak havoc, can still reveal a party that is more arrogant and elitist than what people need.
But for now, the GOP is in deep trouble. Deep trouble.