For years, perhaps decades, the GOP has often cowered when faced by Democrat activists and politicians. I’m very serious when I say this: I believe deep in their hearts many Republicans thought the Democrats—politically and strategically—were smarter and more clever than they were.
Whether in Senate rules scraps, setting the times and closings of polling places on election days, or gerrymandering districts, the GOP assumed it was getting beat, even when it was winning.
Trump has brought a new attitude, as seen in the miraculous, almost Phoenix-like revival of Lindsey Graham (my nickname: Lindsey Granite) and Charles Grassley (The Lawnmower). Certainly Susan Collins’s floor speech for now Justice Brett Kavanaugh (I love saying that) was exceptional, though we cannot count on a perennial RINO to always do the right thing. But none has made a more impressive turnaround than Mitch McConnell (or, as I affectionately call him, Yertle). In Obama’s last year, McConnell—anticipating a GOP victory in 2016 (though I’m sure the victor he had in mind was not Donald J. Trump)—held up dozens of Democrat judges and kept the Merrick Garland nomination from coming to a vote.
You can still hear the sobbing from the frustrated Democrats even now.
Long before the Kavanaugh nomination, Yertle marched Trump’s circuit court nominees through to confirmation, capped off by confirming Neil Gorsuch in 2017. According to some estimates, Trump now has already named a whopping 10% of all Circuit Court judges and McConnell has set a record for getting so many confirmed in so little time.
But this essay really is less about the sudden transformation of lambs into lions on the Republican side as it is the astonishing (and welcome) stupidity of the Democrats. I think slowly it has dawned on some of the GOP that in fact their foes were never smarter or more skilled, but rather had used the media to cow the Republicans into doubting themselves. That self-doubt appears to be over.
Rather than seeing a Democrat team racking up touchdown after touchdown, suddenly the political party opposing the Republicans looks more like an inept 3rd party, unable to keep from fumbling on every play.
Most important, the Democrats seem intent on fighting the last war. Perhaps a few sour grapes and a small does of “resistance” might have been expected after January 2017. But what we are seeing now is a completely unhinged party, totally detached from political reality, trapped in the past.
Not only have they persisted with the failed 60s-era “march and protest” strategy—which, by the way, for all the hoopla and praise it has been given by historians failed to change a single policy! Doubt me? Who won the election in 1972 after three years of mass marches that led to the most far-left candidate ever nominated by a major political party? That’s right, Tricky Dick. Do you remember how decisively he won? Answer: you’d need a magnifying glass to find the electoral votes that went to George McGovern.
Yet the modern Democrats think they are in Chicago in 1968. You can almost see Abbie Hoffman from your house.
Not only did they stick with the “protest and resist” approach all through 2017, burning up valuable time when they could craft an alternative message that might appeal to some voters (at least those near the Pacific Ocean and Madison Square Garden), they amped it up. There was virtually no national strategy to deal with Donald Trump, aside from recruiting FBI agents to run in local and house races and insisting that the KY18 special election in which 2,000 total people showed up was “signs of a blue wave.”
Remember that? Remember those who gleefully predicted the Republicans would lose “40-60 seats” in November? Now, it will be a very, very tough battle for the Democrats to flip the 23 needed to take control of the House. (My number at present is 10-15, that is, they currently can get about 15 flips if they run the table.)
Meanwhile in the Senate, where they desperately needed a plan to deal with red-state backlash against the Democrat lawlessness, they punted. So far, Heidi Heitkamp, Beto O’Rourke, and Claire McCaskill are finished. The trends are such that John Tester and Bill Nelson by meet the same fate by late next week, and within three weeks Indiana and Ohio should join the ranks of red states that gave the heave-ho to Democrat senators.
Now the Democrats had yet one more opportunity to “flip the script.” Yet instead of looking sober, sensible, and trustworthy, the Senate Democrats, in their ridiculous and vicious attack on a fine man and a superb jurist only managed to infuriate Republican and independent women! That takes some doing.
And the response of the Democrats to losing this battle? Bring out the protestors and demonstrator and look even more insane. As President Trump categorized them, “Angry, mean, nasty, and untruthful.” he could have added KooKoo for Coco-Puffs. The insanity displayed at the “protests” has to have ordinary people who are old enough to remember the Chicago riots saying, “I’ve seen this movie before.”
So what is the great strategy the Democrats adopted after their crushing defeat over Kavanaugh? Why, more of the same, of course. They vow to “impeach Kavanaugh” if they take the House, returning to the tired threats against Trump they have made for two years that have gained them nothing.
Oh, and one other little tidbit: Trump, like Napoleon, always fixes his enemy’s attention on one point while striking from behind. While the Democrats have been absorbed with Kavanaugh, Trump’s approval numbers among black Americans has skyrocketed, up to 35% approve with another 4-5% (“won’t say”). In November 2016 we called the “won’t say” people “shy Trump voters.” So while the Democrats wore pussy hats and screamed at Susan Collins, Trump has methodically stolen one of their key voter blocs. Republicans can win elections with 10% of the African-American vote: Democrats absolutely cannot win if Republicans get more than 15%.
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