If this blue puddle is the best the Democrats can achieve after two years of celebrity-fueled screaming, then they need a better plan for 2020 or Trump will drown them
I’ve seen bigger political puddles.
After two years of relentless and often demented celebrity-fuelled Trump-bashing hysteria, the Democrats sneaked back the House of Representatives with a swing of seats far smaller than the shellacking that engulfed incumbent first time presidents Bill Clinton in 1994 or Barack Obama in 2010.
(And they both went onto be re-elected..)
By comparison, the much-heralded ‘fierce resistance’ to Trump turned out to be more of a lame peashooter than a row of cannons.
The President even saw his Republican majority in the Senate significantly INCREASE, which has only happened five times in the past 105 years in the midterms.
No wonder he was so quick to tweet: ‘Tremendous success tonight. Thank you all!’
Trump tweeted about his ‘tremendous success’ Tuesday night – and was ridiculed. But Democrats should be careful
His victory claim was swiftly ridiculed, but I would strongly urge Democrats who mocked him to exercise less glee in their own celebrations.
‘Tomorrow will be a new day in America,’ said House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi.
But will it?
In many ways these were indeed transformative elections.
It’s great that record numbers of women and minorities were elected into the House, including two Muslim women, two Native American women, and the youngest ever woman to win a place in Congress, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
It’s also great to see the first openly gay governor elected.
In many ways these were indeed transformative elections. It was great to see the first openly gay governor elected, in Colorado, and a youngest ever woman to win a seat in Congress
But the reality of these results is that nothing much has changed to curb Trump’s actual power, and it’s quite feasible that losing the House may turn out to be the best thing that could happen to him.
Here’s why: many Democrats are now openly salivating at the thought of launching a full-blown assault on Trump with endless investigations and subpoenas to try to destabilise his presidency.
They want to go after him for everything from his tax returns to his cell phone use and connections with Russia, and now have far more powers to do so.
But such a strategy would simply play into his hands.
Trump loves a fight, and he particularly loves playing the victim of liberal efforts to demonize him.
Trump loves a fight, and he particularly loves playing the victim of liberal efforts to demonize him – and Democrats should avoid playing into his hands
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It doesn’t take a political genius to realise he would turn these attacks into a massive electoral asset, constantly rallying his base to help him defy this concerted effort to destroy him.
Furthermore, if the Democrats actually try to impeach him, not only would it fail because they don’t have control of the Senate, but it would make Trump more popular – just as it did when Republicans in the House impeached Clinton.
So the Democrats need to be smarter than just spending the next two years lobbing investigative bombs at Trump because they will only blow up in their faces.
They also need to stop using celebrities as front line political weapons – because it simply doesn’t work.
Pop superstar Taylor Swift, very ill advisedly in my opinion given her huge popularity in middle America, broke her long-time political silence to publicly endorse Democrat Phil Bredesen in the Tennessee Senate race – but he still lost.
Oprah Winfrey, arguably America’s biggest celebrity, strongly campaigned for Georgia’s Democrat gubernatorial candidate Stacey Adams – but she also lost.
Democrats need to stop using celebrities. Taylor Swift broke her long-time political silence to publicly endorse Democrat Phil Bredesen in the Tennessee Senate race – but he still lost. Oprah Winfrey strongly campaigned for Georgia’s Democrat gubernatorial candidate Stacey Adams – but she also lost
This shouldn’t be surprising.
Lest we forget, Hillary Clinton believed star power would help drive her to the White House, which is why she constantly appeared with the likes of Lady Gaga and Beyonce at her election rallies.
The tactic backfired because many Americans resented seeing her waltzing around with privileged and elitist millionaire celebrities as they struggled to find work or feed their kids. Just as they resented being labelled a ‘basket of deplorables’ by Clinton for supporting Trump, who at least went down to see them and hear their problems.
Liberal celebrities today raced to gloat about winning back the House on Twitter, but Twitter does not represent the majority of Americans, which is why those same liberal celebrities got such a seismic shock when Trump won in 2016 and why they haven’t stopped shrieking ever since.
What they don’t seem to realise is that nobody cares what they have to say about politics. If they did, Hillary would be President.
Lest we forget, Hillary Clinton believed star power would help drive her to the White House, which is why she constantly appeared with the likes of Lady Gaga. But nobody cares what celebrities have to say about politics. If they did, Hillary would be President
So my advice to the Democrats is to ditch the celebrities.
And yes, of course I realise there is a humongous irony in saying this because Trump himself is himself a celebrity. In fact, he’s the biggest celebrity in the world.
But Trump achieved his fame by being a ruthless, hardnosed businessman and that’s both how he won the presidency and how he is now running the country.
His business experience makes him a very capable and dangerous competitor, communicator and campaigner.
His star power from The Apprentice enables him to suck up TV oxygen like nobody else in political history.
And for a guy in his 70s, he has incredible energy and stamina.
So the Democrats are facing a quite unique opponent.
To take him on, the party needs a winning new message and someone who can deliver it in the same clear, repetitive and hugely effective way that Trump delivers his.
And I don’t see any sign of either of those things yet.
Donald Trump won the presidency in 2016 by saying he was going to Make America Great Again.
He’s pursued that goal in the most polarising, controversial, and often highly offensive manner imaginable.
Some of his bull-in-a-china-store style has undeniably worked, especially his aggressive tax cuts and slashing of regulations that have sent the economy surging and been great for jobs.
Some of it has been deeply unedifying, not least his dog whistle rhetoric about immigration.
But whatever you think of Trump, these midterm election results prove that many tens of millions of Americans are buying into his mission and don’t think he’s doing too badly.
If the Democrats are to have any hope of beating him in 2020, then they have got to come up with a better plan than screaming ‘Trump’s a monster’ or ‘Oprah and Taylor say don’t vote for Trump’.
Some of his bull-in-a-china-store style has undeniably worked, but I was pleased to see President Trump strike a more bi-partisan tone at his presser today
I was pleased to see President Trump strike a more bi-partisan tone at his presser today.
He has a chance now to pivot to a more inclusive style of leadership and I hope he takes it.
I also hope he and the media, especially my old employers at CNN, that are now turning his pressers like today into increasingly absurd WWE-style extravaganzas.
But make no mistake: he won the midterms.
If the Democrats can’t see that, or accept it, then Trump won’t just win again in 2020, he will drown them with his own brutal, uncompromising red tsunami.
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