There is a general belief that the 2018 midterm elections are going to be a bloodbath for the Republicans. Robust indicators are pointing toward a sentiment of reining in a mentally unstable President since the GOP controlled House and Senate have shown no backbone in their dealings with the White House.
In a Republican gerrymandered district of Pennsylvania, a Democrat won a “safe” GOP seat. In Alabama, a Republican haven since Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act in 1964, a Democrat won the U.S. Senate seat that came open when Jeff Sessions left to become the Attorney General.
To add to the woes of The Grand Old Party, with each new day, the President gets on twitter trying to save his skin in a criminal investigation that has indicted seventeen people, with five guilty pleas. Once a week we hear stories of Trump confidants flipping and cooperating with Mueller’s investigation.
In the chess match between Mueller and Trump, well, Mueller is playing chess while Trump can barely eek out a decent game of checkers; the President has been giving clemency to white supremacists, bigots, and is rumored to be considering pardoning Democratic Illinois former Governor Blago, in prison for trying to auction Barack Obama’s Senate Seat in 2009.
With the head of the GOP appearing as though he should be behind bars, either for high crimes and misdemeanors or his own protection in a mental institution, what could go wrong for the Democrats?
What is the largest political group in America?
Let’s think about that a minute. First, we should talk about party membership in these tumultuous times. Many commentators, including myself, have written eulogies for the GOP. For us it is not a question of when it will happen, we are asking what will the successor organization that replaces the GOP will look like and speculate on their potential party values.
Many, many people write me inspired by my story of leaving the GOP for the Democratic Party and tell me they are on the same path. I love getting those notes and always write back and encourage them that they will find a political home with the Democrats.
I decided to look at the actual numbers of party membership and the changes as tracked by Gallup. It was an eye-opening moment. You can read the Gallup report here.
First, what is the most prominent political group in America? If you said the GOP, you would be wrong. As of the first ten days in May 2018, the latest published numbers show 26% of America belong to the GOP.
What is more is that the figure is relatively stable. The lowest value I could find from January 2004, until the present was 22%. That number was in January of this year. The range from for the Republicans has been a low of 22% to a high of 33% in October of 2014. One-third of a party’s members is a significant swing, but wait; there is more.
If the GOP is not the largest in a two-party system, then it must be the Democrats that are largest? Currently, the Democrats are more substantial at 29% of the population identifying themselves as belonging to the party.
That is only a 3% difference, and down from the Democratic apex in the wake of the 2008 election of 40%. What that indicates is that Presidential popularity, along with a recession, does affect party membership.
If an unpopular President affects party membership, why are the Democrats showing a wave into the party like what happened in 2008? It is the economy. That is the reason.
Americans vote our pocketbooks. When there is lower unemployment, we tend to side with the status quo. At this moment in time, America is at an 18 year high for people employed, and there has been a nine-year increase in stock values.
Who is the largest political group in America if not the Republicans or the Democrats?
Independents are the largest political group in the USA coming in at a decisive 43% of the population. What is more, the number of Independents dropped by 2% over recent months. The Democrats did not benefit from the drop; the GOP picked up the Independents making a new party choice.
We have a battle on our hands
Surely the Independents are with the Democrats, right? Gallup asked this very question. They questioned independents as of now, do you lean toward the GOP, or toward the Democrats? The results as of the first ten days of May are that 44% lean Republican, and 44% lean Democratic. That means the battle is for 12% of Americans.
Anti-Donald Trump can only take us so far. We have to give the nation a reason to vote for the Democratic Party that does not include the word “Trump” in the platform. My grave concern is that is not going on.
The President and the Congress are giving us plenty ammunition. The party did announce the other day that they would use the lack of an August recess to hammer the GOP about Healthcare.
That is a good start. There are other issues we should focus on as well. What the tax plan has done to Social Security is a crucial issue. Have we forgotten that Harry Reid snatched victory from the jaws of defeat with this very issue in his race against Sharon Angle in 2010?
We can get many in the Trump base back to the Democrats with the trade war Trump is waging. The tariffs on steel and aluminum, the ill will he is generating with his trade policies will cost American jobs. We are not leaping on that.
We cannot be complacent, or we will not achieve the wave we need to protect our way of life. Donald Trump and his enablers in Congress are threats to America. The nation does not want to believe that message although it is true.
America votes our pocketbooks, and we are not giving the nation solid reasons to vote Democratic. We need to change that and realize this is an election that can we can lose.
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