CLOSINGS: View Closings

How Republicans can ride the blue wave

Republicans allowed a crucial farm bill that renewed major agriculture programs to ...

Posted: May 21, 2018 3:57 AM
Updated: May 21, 2018 3:57 AM

Republicans allowed a crucial farm bill that renewed major agriculture programs to fall apart over immigration on Friday, in the most recent demonstration of why the party should be worried about losing control of Congress in the 2018 midterm elections. Each special election brings more evidence that Democrats are motivated, enthused, and prepared.

The large number of successful Democratic female candidates suggests that the women's vote might be unusually large. The turbulence in the Oval Office has taken its toll on Republicans. This presidency has given Democrats the best opportunity since 2008 to recapture Congress.

But in American politics, opportunity does not automatically translate into success. Opportunities can be botched. And while the odds are very strong that Democrats will eat into the size of the Republican majority -- after all, most midterm elections involve the party of the president losing seats -- there are ways in which the GOP can contain the damage from the "blue wave."

Republicans have a number of serious political assets that make them a formidable foe to the Democrats.

In the crucial battle for voter turnout, the GOP will count on three constituencies who have been very pleased with President Donald Trump's absolute loyalty to their agenda: gun rights advocates, evangelical Christians, and anti-immigration hardliners. Despite all of the craziness from this administration, the President has been very consistent and predictable in giving his support to these core groups.

The reason that their loyalty matters is that all three groups tend to be well organized, well financed and to command sizable numbers. As the reality of the midterms approaches and Republicans amplify the threat of a Democratic Congress that will move forward on impeachment, these groups of voters will likely accelerate their efforts and drive to get out the vote.

And if fatigue sets in among Democratic opponents of President Trump, they might not be able to deliver on their turnout. There have been so many scandals and provocative moments since January 2017. Democrats could become so tuned out -- tired of being angry or watching more arguments -- by the time we reach November that their enthusiasm may not be as high as expected.

Democrats will also have to contend with the perceived successes of the GOP. Barring any unexpected downturn, Republicans can benefit from the economy. If current trends continue, by most standard measures the economy could be doing well, come November. Unemployment is low, stock markets are booming and consumers are feeling more confident. Some voters might decide that the status quo is worth it, irrespective of all the eye-rolling presidential tweets.

Although most midterms revolve around domestic issues, foreign policy is something that could become part of the election mix. Despite the current fallout from Trump leaving the Iran nuclear deal and the tensions in Gaza, Republicans are anticipating the potential of a major diplomatic breakthrough with North Korea. Each of those could have the capacity to sway the electoral playing field, much as the Cuban Missile Crisis in October 1962 helped Democrats maintain strong majorities in the House and Senate.

Finally, Republicans still have some built-in advantages that make the election an uphill climb for the Democrats. In the Senate, Democrats still have to knock off a significant number of GOP-held seats while defending a few vulnerable ones. Gerrymandered safe seats also offer the GOP some insulation in the House by limiting the number of seats that are really in play. Republicans also have significant fundraising powerhouses to count on. Massively wealthy donors like the Koch Brothers and Sheldon Adelson are pouring money into campaigns to make sure that the deregulatory direction of policy under Trump is not brought to an end.

None of this means that Republicans are in great shape. They are not. Democrats have history on their side and they will benefit from the unpopularity of Trump.

Yet the size of Democratic gains will matter, because it can determine the difference between continued unified government or a divided Washington. As difficult as it is to believe, given the controversial presidency of Donald Trump, Republicans still have more than enough reason to believe that they stand a chance to ride rather than drown in the blue wave.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 482902

Reported Deaths: 9425
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison33063488
Hinds31021589
DeSoto30610358
Jackson23687348
Rankin21340370
Lee14909220
Madison14166271
Jones13404227
Forrest13160240
Lauderdale11601305
Lowndes10443176
Lamar10214130
Pearl River9098221
Lafayette8241137
Hancock7514112
Washington7102150
Oktibbeha6964124
Monroe6514164
Neshoba6475201
Warren6464164
Pontotoc630393
Panola6250126
Marshall6126123
Bolivar6115144
Union574186
Pike5613136
Alcorn537290
Lincoln5303131
George471472
Scott459196
Leflore4476140
Prentiss446779
Tippah446480
Itawamba4444100
Adams4416116
Tate4394101
Simpson4335112
Wayne433066
Copiah431787
Yazoo423386
Covington415792
Sunflower4148104
Marion4099104
Leake397586
Coahoma3957100
Newton370875
Grenada3556104
Stone350860
Tishomingo336289
Attala325387
Jasper314162
Winston304691
Clay296473
Chickasaw287065
Clarke282190
Calhoun266141
Holmes262187
Smith250649
Yalobusha221047
Tallahatchie220450
Walthall211058
Greene209045
Lawrence206833
Perry199953
Amite198452
Webster196542
Noxubee178939
Montgomery172454
Jefferson Davis168342
Carroll162137
Tunica153334
Benton142535
Kemper138640
Choctaw127026
Claiborne126834
Humphreys126637
Franklin116728
Quitman103926
Wilkinson101936
Jefferson91333
Sharkey63020
Issaquena1926
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 789054

Reported Deaths: 14022
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1115991765
Mobile708511234
Madison49865633
Shelby36274315
Baldwin36242495
Tuscaloosa33931548
Montgomery33190678
Lee22680220
Calhoun21211410
Morgan19816335
Etowah19300462
Marshall17680274
Houston16823386
St. Clair15442305
Cullman14602258
Limestone14581188
Elmore14480264
Lauderdale13520281
Talladega12958236
DeKalb12199237
Walker10588330
Blount9720157
Autauga9667137
Jackson9385158
Coffee8882175
Dale8609173
Colbert8534184
Tallapoosa6673181
Escambia6591121
Covington6452167
Chilton6385144
Russell607255
Franklin5795101
Chambers5416134
Marion4800120
Dallas4705189
Clarke463279
Pike462397
Geneva4413117
Winston425895
Lawrence4117108
Bibb409381
Barbour347270
Marengo326285
Monroe320053
Butler318290
Randolph305956
Pickens305274
Henry301858
Hale292685
Cherokee289855
Fayette279673
Washington245448
Crenshaw238470
Cleburne235851
Clay228565
Macon220158
Lamar197743
Conecuh182046
Lowndes170758
Coosa170235
Wilcox159736
Bullock149243
Perry136537
Sumter124536
Greene121443
Choctaw73427
Out of AL00
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Clear
68° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 68°
Columbus
Clear
66° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 56°
Feels Like: 66°
Oxford
Clear
66° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 58°
Feels Like: 66°
Starkville
Clear
64° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 56°
Feels Like: 64°
Little bits and pieces of low pressure move back into our area over the next several days. This will bring back into our weather forecast some more chances for some isolated to scattered showers and thunderstorms.
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather