Now that we’re “comfortably” away from the 2016 presidential election, we can all focus on the 2018 midterms.
The results from this November will indicate exactly what is going on within this vicious, divisive political climate. Politicians and pundits love to assume what the electorate is thinking, but as we saw with the election of Donald J. Trump, many of them were way off base.
In 2016, voters went to the polls and made a decision to not only vote for the outsider, a non-politician, but also to stick it to the coastal elites. The privileged few who mainly reside on the coasts damaged their own cause with ongoing arrogance and disdain for all of us who reside in flyover country: the supposedly uneducated and uncultured rubes known as Middle Americans.
When the dust settled on November 8, 2016 and it was clear that Hillary Clinton would only bump – not break – that glass ceiling, these people were astonished. The chance of defeat had been minimal, or so they thought.
Are things really that different this time around? Yes and no.
As we head into the midterm elections, voters have nearly two years of the Trump presidency under their belts. This is a good thing. It is also a bad thing.
Despite what talking heads on the TV may say, plenty of voters are still pleased with the Trump administration. In fact, they’re downright ecstatic. They spent eight years suffering under Barack Obama, a man whose utopian ideals and disgust for his own country is still fresh in their minds. Trump is better than the alternative. At least Trump loves his country. At least our current president is pro-military. He isn’t afraid to say what he thinks. He’s a fighter. There is more in our weekly paychecks because of him. America, it is being made great…again.
They are saying these things.
Another group whose feelings have only strengthened is the one made up of Hillary supporters and leftover Bernie fans. Basically, anyone on the Left who trembled at the thought of President Donald J. Trump. They are, in fact, shuddering even more because of what they’re witnessing. You only need to turn on the television and catch a few headlines on any cable news channel (other than FOX) to understand just how frightened they are by the current administration. To them, nearly everything is apocalyptic in scope. The country is being destroyed. We have a madman in the Oval Office. He doesn’t care about diversity. We are doomed on the world’s stage. And most recent of all, “the NRA kills kids!”
Trump. Republican administration. The GOP. Lobbying. The NRA. They kill kids. The Trump administration protects a group that keeps killing kids. Resist.
They are saying these things.
It’s all so exhausting and hysterical. And neither group is even close to wavering from their position. In fact, the staunch pro-Trump and anti-Trump people are ever more convinced of their rightness than ever before. 2016? Please. Have you seen 2018?
Those two groups have dug their heels in further. They are in the trenches for the duration. Don’t pay attention to them.
So, who should we look at? The reluctant Trump voters, the NeverTrumpers who only carried that banner through election day (I place myself in this category), the non-voters, and the independents who view their political surroundings and are more confused than ever before. These people have no clear path to the midterms.
Can they vote for Trump-supporting politicians when they often disagree with the president’s words and actions, and may partially disagree with his policy? They know that retaining control of Congress is imperative, but how much has actually been accomplished by the majority in the past two years?
Will Jay Cost’s prediction come true?
The reality is that some will vote for Democrats because of dislike for the president. However, plenty will vote for the in-party because of dislike for the president. Meaning, they view the histrionics, the mainstream media’s less than truthful reporting, the “now more than ever we have a duty to be honest!” type mentality as reason to keep the instigator in office, even if they’re not overly fond of him.
These are the voters who should be receiving the majority of the attention. They are the ones who will turn the midterm tide. It was never going to be the fangirls and fanboys whose hatred for the president or disgust at the hate keeps them squarely in a spot they’ve been in for months on end.
Just this week, people have been saying that Conor Lamb’s victory in Pennsylvania proves the fall may bring doom…for either side. The argument could certainly be made that his win is a precursor for what’s to come.
But what is to come?
As of right now, it’s difficult to say. And the ones who will decide are still deciding.