Perpetual Gridlock is Now Status Quo
Republicans control the House, Senate, and White House, yet they can’t get much accomplished. Democrats are running opposition now, and have assumed the role of the GOP during the Obama years. The Trump administration is talking big on agenda items, but hasn’t been able to move the wheels of Congress to get anything big to the President’s desk. The federal government has become crippled to the point of inaction. When will the dam burst?
There are lots of ways to look at the current state of affairs in DC. The Democrats aren’t going to help the GOP pass and agenda, nor would anyone expect them to. The Republicans, the other hand, seem to be doing a fine job of sabotaging their electoral success. Conservative commentator Laura Ingraham plants the blame squarely on members of the President’s own party, according to Fox News:
Fox News contributor Laura Ingraham lashed out at establishment Republicans Tuesday night, telling Fox News’ “Hannity” that “a lot of them don’t want Donald Trump to succeed.”
“A lot of them don’t like his policies,” said Ingraham, who singled out Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake as being part of “a significant Chamber of Commerce wing of the Republican Party.”
Flake made headlines Tuesday with the release of his book, titled “Conscience of a Conservative,” in which he described the GOP as being in “denial” about the consequences of electing Trump president.
“Republicans play the safe gentlemanly game of politics,” Ingraham told host Sean Hannity. “They agree with the Democrats on a lot of these key issues, and they don’t agree with Donald Trump on a lot of key issues, so they’re not willing to fight for him.”
The Lifezette editor-in-chief theorized that Trump’s critics have yet to get over his surprise victory in last year’s election.
“He crushed them and they never got over it,” Ingraham said. “The day after the election, they began plotting what they hoped would be his demise.”
It’s true, some Republicans have an axe to grind with Trump, like Senator John McCain. Trump picked on McCain several times during the 2016 campaign, yet those actions have come back to haunt him as McCain cast the death knell “No” vote against the Senate advancing any kind of ObamaCare repeal bill.
GOP stalwart Newt Gingrich is warning his own party that they risk losing their majority if they can’t come together and get something done. Gingrich published an op-ed in USAToday laying out the what is at stake for the party:
The specter of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is looming.
Following Republicans’ failure to fix the country’s health care system, polls show Americans are increasingly flirting with Democratic governance in Congress next year. This means Republicans must change their game plan. The next six months must not be the same as the last six months.
To regain their legislative momentum and keep their majority, Republicans must clearly demonstrate they are fighting for the country’s hardworking taxpayers. This means passing a major tax cut by Thanksgiving — and making it retroactive to the start of this year.
By 2018, the tax cuts will have spurred economic growth and wage increases, giving Republicans substantial momentum and a popular record of success to tout during their campaigns.
As a result of the infighting in Trump world and in Congress, Democrats see the opening to regain the majority in 2018, according to The Hill:
Democrats are feeling encouraged about their prospects of winning back the House next year despite a string of special election losses.
A turbulent White House has left President Trump’s approval rating at a dismal 40 percent, and Democrats ended the House session watching the ObamaCare repeal effort collapse in the Senate.
“There are a lot of reasons to think that the House will be in play next year,” said Kyle Kondik, managing editor of Sabato’s Crystal Ball, an election handicapper at the University of Virginia.
Kondik said the single best gauge for predicting 2018 results may be the House generic ballot, which has the Democrats up between 6 and 14 points, according to recent surveys from various outlets.
“Democrats likely will need something around a double-digit lead to win control,” he said.
“Right now, I’d say the House generic indicates the Democrats would make gains but not win the majority — but of course the election isn’t today.”
Midterm elections for first-term presidents are historically ruinous for the party that controls the White House.
The only President who witnessed gains for his own party during the first mid-term after a presidential election was George W. Bush in 2002, but that was mostly due to national sentiment following the 9/11 terror attacks. Since that time, President Bush and President Obama went on to suffer losses during the mid-term races such as the route in 2006 which handed the House back to Democratic control, and the Tea Party revolt in 2010 which returned the House to the GOP.
Democrats are banking on the GOP tanking itself and not giving voters any reason to come out in 2018 as Washington continues to flail with few meaningful accomplishments. President Trump usually runs down a short list of items, such as his Supreme Court pick, as evidence that he’s delivering on promises. That may be enough for some voters to keep the GOP in charge, but how long will that last?
The bad news for Democrats, is that it’s only August of 2016, and the Mid-term elections are still 15 months away. Republicans could circle back from a defeat on health care and come up with a tax reform plan that spurs economic growth and gives GOP voters reason to vote heavy in 2018 to continue pushing the Trump agenda.
On the other hand, the bad news for Republicans is that 15 months is not a long time when it comes to Congressional schedules and electoral cycles. Congress is basically gone for the month of August, and then we get into a host of breaks and recesses for the holiday months of November, December, and January.
What if things stay as they area, in stasis, with little to no movement in either direction. Democrats oppose Trump, Trump accomplishes nothing, and things basically go on as they have been for years now. The American people are supposed to “break the tie” to get things working, but it sometimes seems that voters find the gridlock acceptable.
In 2016, voters delivered the House, Senate, and White House to Republicans. If the party can’t get much accomplished, then what reason do voters have to keep things as they stand?
Filed in: Politics Tagged in: congress gridlock midterm elections tax reform trump