by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
The latest polls show that the generic ballot lead for Democrats has dropped from a nearly insurmountable 13 points in December to about three points today. According to a new CBS News/YouGov tracking poll, the odds on a Democratic House takeover are now about 50/50. On average since 1865, the party in power has lost 32 House seats and two Senate seats in midterm elections; Democrats need just 24 seats to flip the House this year. Yet they’re still falling short.
Because Democrats can’t hem themselves in on two topics: Trump and policy. …
… [I]nstead of playing nice with Trump, while stoking the flames of anti-Trump ire with their base, Democrats promised a deus ex machina: Trump would flame out, retire, be impeached, be prosecuted by Robert Mueller for Russian collusion, and all the rest. Trump wasn’t merely a bad guy — he was the worst guy, a buffoonish Hitler clad in the armor of cruel conservatism.
But there’s a problem: Trump hasn’t flamed out. …
… All of which means that Democrats have been forced to turn to the second prong of their 2018 attack: policy.
But on policy, the Democratic record looks even worse. Trump’s rhetoric continues to fuel feelings of unmoored chaos, but the markets continue to soar, the job market grows, and we’re not in the middle of any serious foreign-policy crisis. In 2016, CNN Money warned, “A Trump win would sink stocks.” Nope. Pelosi warned that Trump’s tax cuts were mere “crumbs” that would amount to nothing. Nope. Hollywood celebrities warned about the significant possibility of global thermonuclear war. Nope. Democrats promised a dystopian hellscape. Instead, they got an economy so good that the New York Times ran a piece headlined “We Ran Out of Words to Describe How Good the Jobs Numbers Are.”