Over the last week, the disaster of the Donald Trump presidency has come into focus for millions of Americans. Still, many Republicans have decided, time and time again to put their party over the country. While we focus on blaming Trump, and he certainly deserves it, we have to realize this is the current state of the Republican party.
Over the last year, there were all the warning signs that said: this is who Trump was… and yet, Republicans from the bottom up have buckled under to Trump, rather than do what is right for their country.
And while Democratic leaning voters are certainly unhappy — 91% disapprove — Republicans who identify themselves as Trump voters in 2016? In a poll conducted over the weekend, 86% of Republicans are still on the Trump train.
The Russian Scandal and out of control White House are big deals for some of us, but for the Republican party? It isn’t even a blip.
It has come time to acknowledge a few basic things. First, there are more left-leaning voters than right-leaning ones. The election of 2016, in raw data, showed that, and if you could add in the left-leaners who didn’t vote (D) in the fall (Stein voters, as an example) in margins, the number would be larger.
Second, it tells us there is a floor through which Donald Trump simply cannot go below. During the presidential campaign, Trump said he could “shoot someone in the street” and it wouldn’t impact his popularity. On a daily basis, we are discovering that to be true.
We need to step back and realize that in light of these facts, the problems around Russia? Meaningless to those voters. There is simply no crisis that can appear, unless it directly, personally impacts them that cannot be pushed aside with whataboutisms. Trump breaks secret privileges with Russia? WhataboutBenghazi? Comey memos? It’s an attempt to overthrow a Republican hero by the damn liberal media.
Trump can do virtually anything, and right wing media sources — including Fox News — will play “whatabout..” while at the same time pushing the latest conspiracy of the day: “ABC sacked Tim Allen’s conservative program!” or anything else that floats the boat of the conservative viewing audience.
For quite some time, there has not been an issue of AlternativeFacts and FakeNews. There is, instead, a much deeper problem of an alternative reality that has gripped enough Americans, that, aided by the internet, continues to flourish.
We see it sometimes on the left as well, as groups devolve into self-enforcing group think that doesn’t hear enough outside voices to understand what will and won’t sell. But as long as the message is finely tuned toward that base of voters, it doesn’t matter.
Republicans have long recognized this and have pushed to use information as the point of a spear. While Democratic and progressive sources spend countless hours pushing Russia, Republicans dismiss the problem as nothing but propoganda against their guy.
What we are seeing in DC shows this to be true, as Republican legislators are spending precious little time with real resources on this issue, instead, they focus their concerns on whether or not they will face conservative Republican primaries.
For the future of our nation, it is important we investigate and get to the bottom of the Russian fiasco. But for the good of our party, we need to start spending a lot more time talking about the fact that the Trump administration has put forward, well, absolutely nothing on Jobs. Not a single thing that increases the likelihood that Americans will live a better life, have higher pay, and provide a better future for their kids. That doesn’t mean all the time. It means, well, at least some amount of time, especially for our new candidates.
In nearly 5 months, we’ve seen no work on any of these issues by the Republican administration. Nothing put forward that makes significant changes to the day to day life of their own voters.
Egberto and others have talked about this, but point blank: no matter how bad Russia is, it is unlikely to sustain us through the 2018 midterms. Republicans could botch this to a point where it does, but even then, Democratic candidates must run on more than Trump is terrible.
There are two truths that we are establishing right now, one is that a slice of the Republican base will never, under any circumstances, no matter what is discovered, move away from voting for Trump like candidates or Republicans. They will be sustained by media that is favorable to them and keep them in line. The second, however, is that in order for Democratic party candidates to win, they must run on more than just: the other guy is horrific.
Now, the other guy is horrific most certainly doesn’t hurt, but as I tell people in candidate events, voters have one simple metric: WIIFM: What Is In It For Me? What does the voter get if they vote for a candidate?
And while that “get” for Democratic voters may be: opposition to Trump, something that plays out in off years by those who are the party not in the white house, unlike Republicans, left leaning voters wait for something that says: this is where I stand and if I win, this is what I am prepared to do.
Down ballot Dems, hoping to make a difference in 2018, should take this time and start thinking about their message for 2018, whatever that message may be.
We must realize that the Russian scandal is NOT Watergate. This is Iran-Contra all over again. A situation where Republicans will lionize those who have fallen, and praise them for being hapless victims of someone else. There will not be a Republican stand up and pronounce this is wrong — because too many in their own base will not tolerate or accept it.
And like Iran-Contra, too many Democratic members are counting on this being doom for a Republican administration and not preparing for what happens next. Candidate recruitment and candidate messaging must be happening now, and it can't be all anti-Trump.
So, this is being talked about in some comments as though I am saying: don’t talk about Trump. Candidates are free to talk about whatever they wish, and any federal candidate should bring up Trump, especially in districts where it really resonate. This diary was brought on by fundraising requests for office that are all, 100%, Trump. There are two parts of me that say: (1) This is not sustainable, and (2) what if — in all of our hopes — Trump is gone before 2018, what next?
Which is why I like it when I receive requests from candidates talking about their “plan” for their district/etc. This is not about forcing candidates or elected to take on any specific issues, just that a broadened issue platform is a lot easier to sell all the way down the ballot.