Republicans Are Caught in a Trump Bind as the Midterms Approach

Confining Trump to a Trappist monastery for three months might help a bit. But it might not: much of the damage has already been done.

.. Balderson probably owes his win to a late endorsement ad cut by GOP Gov. John Kasich, not a late rally by President Trump,

.. Trump’s support among white voters without a college degree fell from fifty-seven per cent in June to forty-nine per cent in July.

And his disapproval rating went from thirty-six per cent to forty-seven per cent.

.. But there is no such doubt about how Trump turns off many affluent, college-educated Republicans.

.. “This is all of a piece with the intuition nationally that college-educated whites are turning away from the Republican Party in reaction to Donald Trump’s presidency,”

.. White House aides are now “mapping out plans for the fall that would offer a variety of options to Republican candidates, including visits by the president’s daughter Ivanka Trump to blue states and presidential tweets to bolster red-state allies.”

.. the thinking is to use Trump to boost turnout in areas where he is popular, but to keep him away from latte-sipping Republicans in the ’burbs

.. It’s fanciful to imagine that he could spend September and October whipping up his diehard supporters at rallies in places such as Charleston, West Virginia, and Bismarck, North Dakota, without entering the consciousness of Republican voters in the areas surrounding Chicago, Columbus, and Philadelphia.

.. it’s looking like House Speaker Paul Ryan and roughly three dozen other House Republicans knew what they were doing when they announced that they would retire instead of seek reëlection this year.

 

Trump’s successes are thanks to Republicans. His failures are thanks to Trump.

Vice President Pence’s obsequiousness at a recent Cabinet meeting — “Thank you for seeing, through the course of this year, an agenda that is truly restoring this country. . .” and on, and on — might be appropriate at a Communist Party Central Committee meeting or at a despot’s birthday party.

.. The divestment of self-respect is a qualification for employment in the Trump administration. Praising the Dear Leader in a Pence-like fashion seems to be what the Dear Leader requires — not in the way we might need dessert after dinner, but in the way an addict needs drugs.

.. President Trump divides the world into two categories: flunkies and enemies. Pence is the cringing, fawning high priest of flunkiness

.. Any Republican president from the 2016 primary field would have appointed conservative judges, continued the offensive against the Islamic State, and cut taxes and regulations. (He or she would also, in all likelihood, have succeeded at an Obamacare replacement.)

.. Trump spent the political capital of his first year — the highest it will ever be — on a few, generic GOP goals.

  • .. Trump has tried to undermine the credibility of important institutions — the courts, the FBI, intelligence agencies, the media — that check his power and expose his duplicity.
  • He has used his office (and Twitter account) to target individual Americans for harm without due process.
  • He attacks the very idea of truth in a daily torrent of despicable lies.
  • The moral authority of the presidency is in tatters.
  • He has made our common life more vulgar and brutal, and complicated the moral education of children.
  • Racists are emboldened and included in the GOP coalition.
  • He has caused a large portion of Republicans to live in an alternate reality of resentment and hatred,
  • which complicates the possibility of governing and is likely to discredit the party among the young, minorities, women and college-educated voters for decades to come.

.. Almost all of Trump’s accomplishments are the work of traditional Republican policy staffers and congressional leaders. Almost all of Trump’s failures are functions of his character. And that isn’t going to change.