Republicans need to hurry for two reasons. First, if Republicans don't pass meaningful legislation, it is unlikely they will maintain their majority in the House or the Senate. Second, Republicans need to hurry because history alone suggests they will lose their majority in 2018.
Remember that in modern history, midterms spell trouble for the president's party in Congress. If President Donald Trump's approval rating were anywhere near 50 percent, perhaps the outlook in the House would not be so bleak. When presidents are above 50 percent, their party loses an average of 14 seats in the House in the midterms compared with an average loss of 36 seats when presidents are below 50 percent. But Trump's approval rating is at 38.2 percent and there is no sign of it approaching 50 percent anytime soon.
So, from a historical perspective alone, Republicans are in trouble. But in Trump's case, losing the majority will be particularly problematic. Democratic activists and the president's opponents in Congress and in the media want blood. They want payback. They want more than just stalled nominations and roadblocks to legislation. They despise Trump so much that they want him persecuted, prosecuted and removed from office. They want his personal fortune revealed and diminished, his family tormented and their brand crushed.
I'm not looking for the long-lost Trump pivot, but as the saying goes, "when a man knows he is to be hanged in a fortnight, it concentrates his mind wonderfully." Again, he needs to hurry.
And given this president's vulnerabilities, he should be particularly eager to alter course and avoid the calamity that is coming into view.
Simply put, between historical tides, modest accomplishments and an unpopular president, Republicans will lose in 2018 unless they fundamentally change their trajectory.
Editorial on 11/14/2017
Print Headline: GOP in trouble