It’s a long way to November and a lot will change. In the roller-coaster world of electoral politics, there are constant ups and downs. What one day seems imminently possible, the next seems utterly impossible. Right now, I’m in the trough.
I sense that Donald Trump has the momentum and has consolidated his base as we start the year. He knows he’s going to beat impeachment and the GOP is never going to hold him accountable for anything. Tax cuts and deregulation are more important than any of the values they once claimed to hold. His support among Republicans is 94% and his approval rating, according to Gallup, is higher than it has been during his presidency.
In contrast, the party that claims to want fair and free elections can’t even hold a caucus. The debacle in Iowa left Democrats looking inept. The caucuses themselves seemed to make voting more difficult and excluded people who wanted to participate. The failure of the app gave Republicans a great talking point: If Democrats can’t run a caucus, how do they expect to run a government.
The economy is chugging along, propped up by $22 trillion in debt and a deficit that exceeds $1 trillion. The unemployment rate is so low that the only people who aren’t working are those who can’t or don’t want to. While the economy is grew at relatively weak 2.3% in 2019, it doesn’t seem to be heading toward recession anymore. People are more optimistic about it than they’ve been since before the Great Recession.
While we’ve lost much of our respect in the world, most Americans don’t care. They only know that Trump killed an Iranian general who supported terrorism and that, essentially, nothing happened. They don’t care that Russia has more influence over the Middle East than we do. They don’t know that Europeans are reassessing their relationship with United States and looking more toward each other for security and economic development. Instead, they’ll cheer an ineffective wall that falls down in wind storms, is tunneled under and cut through with power tools you can buy at Lowe’s.
A friend of mine said last night that Trump will probably get re-elected and we deserve him. Democrats failed to reform our system when they had the chance, so now Republicans get to do it their way. Trump and company will play on the ugliest strains of racism and xenophobia to motivate their base while giving huge tax breaks to the rich, cutting protections for the environment and worker safety and leaving the next generation with a staggering debt. It’s a recipe for greater inequality, an increasingly dilapidated infrastructure and more resentment directed at the wrong people, but, for now, it seems to be a winning formula.
Maybe next week I’ll be at the top of the roller coaster.
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 >