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Trump’s ‘red wave’ delusions could actually backfire for the GOP

Republicans refuse to believe in polls showing that a ‘blue wave’ will flip the U.S. House over to Democrats — and Trump is only egging them on.

By Dan Desai Martin - August 20, 2018
Donald Trump

Democratic enthusiasm and engagement is extremely high nationwide. But many Republicans, encouraged by Trump, refuse to believe the evidence that a “blue wave” appears likely to give Democrats control of the House of Representatives after the November midterm elections.

Republican focus groups respond to scenarios of Republicans losing control of the House with a combination of disdain and disbelief. The overall reaction is, “That’s not going to happen, that’s stupid,” according to one Republican strategist who spoke with Axios.

Trump himself is egging on these delusions by bragging about Republican wins in special congressional elections, even going so far as to predict a “red wave” in November.

Trump also touts outlier polls that show him with a much higher approval rating than the average of other national polls — which show Trump underwater with only 43 percent approval and 52 percent disapproval.

“The president tweets out the polls, his media mouthpieces echo them, and his voters feel pacified,” Axios reports.

This could make November even worse for Republicans than it would be otherwise.

Trump’s braggadocio attitudes and tweeting are “worrisome,” one GOP operative told Axios. The fear among Republican strategists is that their base will dismiss any negative news about Republicans being in trouble as “fake news” — and that they won’t feel pressure to actually turn out to vote.

“Trump is breeding complacency,” Axios reports.

Meanwhile, a closer look at the special elections Trump likes to brag about actually show a trend of Democratic enthusiasm. According to NPR, the average vote in each of those special elections was 10 points better for Democrats than in the 2016 election.

And most of the special elections were held in deep-red districts, many of which Trump carried by 20 points or more.

Democrats won one such Pennsylvania district in March. And on the Senate side, Republicans lost a crucial seat in deep-red Alabama when Democrat Doug Jones defeated Roy Moore, an alleged child predator who was backed by Trump.

More recently, Republicans have been clinging to a narrow lead in an Ohio special congressional election in a district Trump carried by 11 points.

If House elections around the country maintain the same trajectory, NPR estimates that Democrats will pick up more than 60 seats in November.

“That’s certainly on trend for a blue — not red — wave and for far more than the 23 seats they need to flip the House,” NPR points out.

But Republicans simply refuse to believe that this could happen.

In a Morning Consult poll, researchers presented Democrats and Republicans with various news headlines and asked which ones were accurate.

When presented with a headline claiming Democrats would win the House if the election were held today, a paltry 28 percent of Republicans said the headline was accurate.

If that complacency among Republicans results in fewer voters in November, and if Democrats maintain their obvious enthusiasm and momentum, the midterms could be even worse for Republicans than current models predict.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation. 

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