Republicans are searching for a national message heading into the midterms. They had hoped to be running on the success of their tax plan or the failure of Obamacare. Neither of those has worked out. The tax plan hasn’t helped the middle class and Obamacare is stabilizing and popular despite herculean GOP attempts to sabotage it.
Now, they’ve settled on two differing messages. The first message is a desperate attempt by Republicans to steal Democratic thunder. They’re claiming Democrats will cut your Medicare. That won’t work. That’s the equivalent of Democrats running on the message, “Republicans will raise your taxes.” It’s not true and even if it were, it’s not believable. Medicare and Social Security are bedrock Democratic programs and voters know it.
The second message comes straight from the President and he knows his audience. Donald Trump wants to make this midterm about him. In particular, he wants his base to believe that if Democrats gain control of Congress, they’ll impeach him. Trump is trying to motivate those voters who came out to vote just for him in 2016 but aren’t likely to show up if he’s not on the ballot.
It also placates Trump’s need to make everything about him. He’s reaching out to the people who will scratch his narcissistic itch. And it might work. Those people might not have much use for rank-and-file Republicans but they want to protect the guy they believe has their back. They are the people who get most of their information from the likes of Fox News and Alex Jones.
In North Carolina, 75% Republicans voted in 2016 and only 72% 2012. Those 3% are the Trump surge voters. If Trump can get them to show up, they can mitigate Democratic gains in November.
Democrats, for their part, should stay away from an impeachment message. Instead, they need to focus on the GOP attempt to bring back pre-existing conditions. Instead of trying to reduce costs or increase access, Republicans have kept up a relentless attack on a program. Eventually, they might be able to claim they killed Obamacare but they’ll also have to take responsibility for kicking millions of people off of their insurance programs.
Republicans are getting desperate as we head into the final stretch of the midterms. They’ve got an embattled president with a White House that’s apparently in chaos. While Republicans are touting the strong economy, most middle class families are just starting to feel some stability and aren’t ready to give credit to the GOP yet. Trump wants to make himself the victim of a partisan witch hunt and call out his pitchfork brigade to save him. Rank-and-file Republicans will need to determine whether they have a better chance with Trump’s army or the shrinking middle. They can’t have both.
Thomas Mills is the founder and publisher of PoliticsNC.com. Before beginning PoliticsNC, Thomas spent twenty years as a political and public affairs consultant. Learn more >