Saturday, September 15, 2018

Democrats' strongest messages for the midterms

A version of this was published  in the Sky Hi News September 18-19, 2018

The Democrats’  messages for the November midterms are taking form. What may become  stronger is “  Put a check on President Trump’s behavior and  policies; vote for Democrats in November”.   Why stronger? It has  broader appeal than to just the Democratic party’s faithful since it  has already been championed by some well known Never Trump and traditional conservatives like  Joe Scarborough, David Frum,  George Will, and columnist/radio host  John Ziegler,   who see a defeat of Trump supporters in the mid-terms as a way to clean the GOP house of Trumpism for the future.
The Democrats’ message is strong on its own merits: “ The President personally is not fit for the job and a GOP Congress is complicit in keeping him in office.  Our system of checks and balances is not working when the same party controls all of the levers of power in Washington.  At least one part of the legislative branch needs to hold Trump accountable by holding hearings given their  power to subpoena witnesses testifying under oath.”  The anonymous op-ed in the New York Times, the release of Bob Woodward’s book “Fear”, and  insider insights into the White House chaos authored  by Omarosa  Manigault Newman could  kick  this political science approach into even higher gear.
The issue most on the minds of  voters under 65 per Kaiser Family Foundation polls is the rising  cost of health care and especially whether affordable coverage for pre-existing conditions will continue to be affordable. Trump rule changes would allow higher premiums for  all coverage of pre-existing conditions even for those with employer provided insurance.  A mid August Reuters/Ipsos poll revealed that the concept of Medicare for All is supported by 70% of voters, 85% of Democrats and 52% of Republicans.  In October, just before the midterms, the new premium prices will be announced and , based on the Congressional Budget Office estimates, Fox Business News reports that the  increase will be 15% due to Trump’s removing the individual mandate, resulting in fewer healthy participating in Obamacare. So far projections of the cost of Medicare for All  or shrill shouts that this is socialism has not dimmed the support. So long as the GOP dominated Congress controls the agenda, the issue will not be debated nor will credible light be shone on the funding challenges.
“Vote Democratic so you can impeach him” is a message that  is not gaining traction.   A mid-September poll by Quinnipiac indicated  56% Americans do not want impeachment proceedings to begin versus 36% who do. There are good  reasons impeachment and  using the 25th Amendment are not feasible. To remove Trump  using both measures requires a 2/3 vote in the Senate.  That  needs bi-partisan support no matter if the Senate turns more blue in November.
There are two wild cards that may make impeachment  more popular. The  impact of the Woodward, Omarosa, op ed tell-alls  is not yet known. The other is whether findings  from the Mueller investigation  would finger the President himself for obstructing  justice or conspiracy with the Russians to throw the 2016 election his way. The report will probably not be made  before the November 6 elections. As an issue, Mueller’s probe of Russian interference in the 2016 elections  is still a matter of speculation though public opinion is turning against Donald Trump. Real Clear Politics polls saw a large dip in blue collar support after Trump’s fawning over Putin at Helsinki. Most recent polls .A Washington Post/ABC poll August 31: Nearly two-thirds of American adults support Mueller's ongoing investigation.  64 %  believe Trump should not fire Attorney General Sessions though Donald Trump says he will fire him after midterms, probably installing am interim  DOJ chief that could squash or cripple Mueller’s probe and report.

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