So let’s review the bidding. The investigative waters keep rising around Trump. The bill guaranteeing the safety of the special counsel won’t pass, but the support of four senior Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee sends Trump a warning—seven if Trump were to stage a Saturday Night Massacre. Too much information is now with the U.S. attorney in New York. And firing Mueller would lead directly to impeachment.
Issues that looked like winners for Trump are turning blurry at best. China is pushing back against Trump’s hard line, and efforts by even hawkish trade officials to get back on the same side with the EU (whose support we need against China) are running up against Trump’s stupidly uninformed cold shoulder to Germany and his insistence that tariffs apply to Europe. Korea, despite early euphoria, will be far from an easy win for Trump, since at best we are in for a period of protracted diplomacy and a deal is still a long shot.
Republicans continue to look worse and worse for the November midterms. Speaker Paul Ryan’s unforced error in firing the House chaplain alienates Catholic Republican voters and divides his own caucus. The pitiful mess with former White House physician and failed VA nominee Ronny Jackson creates yet another wedge between Trump and his party’s nervous supporters in Congress. Trump’s personal unpopularity spills over onto his Republican enablers.
And despite the Republican penchant for trying to rig or steal elections, please note that the six special elections for vacant House seats since Trump’s election went off more or less as normal.
A Democratic pickup of at least 50 seats in the House seems likely, and the Senate is now seriously in play as well. In Tennessee, polls show the popular Democrat, Phil Bredesen, leading the widely detested far-right Republican and likely nominee, Marsha Blackburn. Even Republican Bob Corker, who is retiring from the Senate seat, backs Bredesen.
Lots could happen between now and November, of course, but none of it is likely to be good for Trump and the GOP. Even a good economy is not translating into support for the incumbent party.
I know, I know, it’s risky to count chickens before they hatch. But with all the gloomy news, there are actually many things to celebrate—things that keep hope alive.