Friday, November 2, 2018

Desperation

Trump at a rally in Columbia, Missouri, last night:

If you don’t want America to be overrun by masses of illegal aliens and giant caravans, you better vote Republican!

I think what’s happening is that Trump and a lot of Republicans see that they are about to get their heads handed to them by the voters on Tuesday and they’re trying everything they can possibly come up with to motivate their base to save them from complete ignominy.  That explains the blatantly racist commercial they’re running to try to scare voters about immigration.  That explains why Trump is sending 15,000 soldiers to defend the southern border against a slow-moving caravan that more resembles a new production of “The Grapes of Wrath” than it does an invading force.  That explains why Trump said that if they throw rocks (assuming they have the strength), the soldiers will shoot back, which would constitute a war crime, and remind people of a certain age of May 4, 1970 at Kent State.  That explains why he and his minions are flying around the country to campaign in safe districts only and speaking — or shouting — to crowds that are only friendly to them.  And that explains why the early voter turnout has surpassed the total number of voters in the last mid-term election.

It’s not the invasion of migrants that Trump’s worried about.  It’s the onslaught of voters who are going to the polls.  It’s not the rocks they’re going to throw that worries him, it’s the votes they’re going to cast.

The Democrats may not retake the Senate; the sheer number of seats they’d have to flip makes it unlikely (but hope springs eternal, etc).  But even with the mandatory grains of salt in the mix, it’s looking like the Democrats will not only gain a majority in the House, they may even exceed the needed 23 seats and go as high as 40.  That will do two things: put the kibosh on any policies the GOP hopes to get through Congress for the next two years, and paint a huge target on the Democrats as obstructionists who are bent on destroying the America that Trump was making so great again.  He’ll be on Fox and Twitter every ten minutes with more vitriol and outrage that makes the last three years look like a garden party.  If you think we had gridlock outrage under the Republicans versus Obama, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

But the scariest thing for Trump isn’t that he’ll lose control of the legislative branch; he doesn’t care about that.  What’s scary is that he will now appear to be vulnerable not just to the Democrats but to what’s left of the sane people in the GOP who know that there’s an expiration date on Trump’s tenure and that the future of their party is at stake.  You’re going to hear more whispers and rumblings about defying Trump, and not just from the ones who are safely out of electoral reach such as Bob Corker and Jeff Flake (who still voted for Trump’s shitty ideas anyway).  There may even be primary challengers starting to work backstage next week when Campaign 2020 kicks off: Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska has been trying to come off as the Jiminy Cricket of the GOP, and Nikki Haley didn’t resign as UN ambassador just to spend more time with her family.  If recent history is any guide, an incumbent president facing a viable primary challenge stands a good chance of losing re-election.  A huge election loss in the 2018 midterms will embolden those who were waiting for their chance to say that they were never really in favor of Trump all along.  The GOP has never missed an opportunity to be opportunists, after all.

So the stench of desperation from Trump and his acolytes in the GOP and on Fox News will be nearly overpowering.  Hold your nose and vote.