Wednesday, October 24, 2018

What blue wave?

The Associated Press ponders the change in events in American politics this year.  A year ago, even earlier this year, the narrative of the Left/Media was that the Democrats would storm into Congress, seizing both houses with ease.  Or at least with a slim majority in the Senate.  This is because SatanHitlerTrump and the thrice daily promise of NuclearHolocaustGate.  Not a sliver of credit for anything positive is given to Trump, and every day the American press inundates us with dozens of stories/editorials reminding us that Trump is the worst thing in the history of the universe.

And yet, merely two weeks away, that Blue Tsunami that was all but in the bag has vanished.  Sure, most believe the Democrats should take the House, albeit by a small margin.  However the likelihood of taking the Senate seems to have slipped away.  Anything could happen of course, and polls have been notoriously hit and miss in recent years. 

But it is worth pondering.  Traditionally, Americans have instinctively swung to the opposite party than the sitting president during midterms.  Especially in the first midterm of a given presidency.  Not always, but that's been the tendency.  Since Trump is the worst thing in history, you'd think the Democrats - fully endorsed and supported by the press and popular culture - would be able to stroll into overwhelming victory.

So what happened?   First, Trump exhaustion syndrome.  It's no exaggeration to say that, even with less time spent following the news than I used to spend, I'll see a dozen different stories about Trump!, all negative, in a given day.  Some suggestive.  Some editorials.  Some clear hit pieces.  But all meant to attack Trump.  After a while, that will just numb people.  So if Trump declares himself a Nationalist, what might have gotten traction a year ago just flies in one ear and out the other today.

Then Kavanaugh.  As much as many Americans, Women and New Pro-life Catholics decided that a man's life should be destroyed because a woman says so, even if she has no corroborating evidence or witnesses, many Americans thought better of it.  And politicians poopooing innocence and guilt, and openly declaring an end to due process based on identity, didn't endear them to quite a fair number of common sense voters.

Plus, things are better.  The press is doing the opposite with Trump than they did Obama, which is par for the course.   With Obama, things were always getting better, with any bumps in the road attributed to racists or GOP partisan politics.  With Trump, no mention of anything good is connected to Trump at all.  Any problems are laid firmly at Trump's feet. 

But that's not how most Americans - most human beings - operate.  Most know full well things are getting better.  They'll give credit where it is due, including Obama and including Trump.  Likewise, when they're constantly warned that this time Trump will nuke the world!, only to see month after month go by without nuclear holocausts or death camps or mass executions, whatever small things do go wrong will seem rather minor when set next to the good things Americans are seeing.

Which leads to the final problem, and that's expectations.  Obama was supposed to be the greatest thing since Jesus.  Walking on water, raising the dead, dying for the sins of humanity, aligning the planets, fixing the oceans, curing diseases - there wasn't anything Obama wouldn't do.  I don't care how good he could have been, nobody can live up to those expectations.  So the myriad problems in the world that existed in 2018, mixed with an anemic economic recovery and growing stress and divisions in America stood in stark contrast to the messianic promises of Obama's 2008 campaign and press coverage.

In contrast, Trump is the worst thing in history.  He is pure evil, pure wrong, pure incompetence, pure lies, pure bad, pure negative.  The moment he wakes up in the morning everything is supposed to explode at the speed of light.  The second he was elected the entire economy was supposed to collapse.  He was going to start a nuclear war in minutes.  All minorities would be rounded up and executed.  All life as we know it would be destroyed.  Except, it hasn't been.

With such low expectations, it's almost impossible for Trump not to impress.  Given what everyone was promised, it's impossible not to see that we're better off than the predictions.  We're still here.  The world hasn't exploded.  Life hasn't ended.  By virtue of waking up, we're better off than anyone said we would be two years ago.  And that means something.

Given all of these things, plus the Democrats trying to appeal to the most radical, zealous and extreme bilge among its base, I don't have a hard time believing that they will blow what should have come as a matter of course.  Will they take the House?  Probably.  The number of Republican Never Trumpers in Congress have made the midterms more than they should have been.  The Democrats could take the Senate, too.  But it's a testimony to the massive difference between the Left/Media narrative and actual Americans living on the street that at this stage in the game, it's still a conclusion that is open to debate.

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