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Stock market booming, gov't crashing, blue wave coming

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By Douglas Cohn and Eleanor Clift
Washington Merry-Go-Round

Saturday, January 20, 2018

WASHINGTON — Democrats dream in blue. They dream of a blue wave coming. They envision the possibility and increasing probability that a November wave will restore them to power in Washington in at least one chamber of Congress, the House, and maybe even the Senate. Gains thought out of reach even a few months ago are looking achievable as Republicans fight among themselves and watch voters ebb away.

In every election over the last year, Republicans have under-performed while Democrats have over-performed. A special election to fill a state Senate seat in Wisconsin last week continued the pattern with Democrat Patty Schachtner winning in a solidly Republican district.

On Thursday, a wounded messenger — President Trump — and his discredited message traveled to Pittsburgh to talk up the economy and put in a plug for Republican state legislator Rick Siccone. He is running to replace former Rep. Tim Murphy, a pro-life Republican who resigned last year after published emails revealed he had urged a woman with whom he had an affair to have an abortion.

Republican donors are pouring money into the district in the hope of avoiding another loss should the voters turn to the Democratic nominee, Conor Lamb, a Marine and former U.S. attorney. Lamb is emblematic of the kind of moderate candidates Democrats are recruiting to run in Republican districts.

They are not running on an anti-Trump message, but rather putting forth their own credentials and ideas. Democrats have never been ones to fall in line, prompting folklorist Will Rogers to declare, “I don’t believe in any organized party. I’m a Democrat.”

This cycle might be different. Democrats are coalescing around equal rights, health care, tax reform and foreign policy while the GOP has seemingly been unable to come together on anything except the tax reform bill Republicans passed without a single Democratic vote. It is the first tax measure in modern times to be unpopular with the voters.

That’s why the 2018 midterms are about much more than Donald Trump and his tweets and his boorish behavior. The voters see that Trump’s deeds do not match his rhetoric. For all of his populist rhetoric, he and his party have an anti-populist plan. The tax bill that benefits the rich will be paid for by the middle-class when Trump, Speaker Paul Ryan and their band of reformers start trimmingly Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, three programs avidly embraced by most citizens.

People vote their national security interests first, then their pocketbooks. Trump has been successful in keeping ISIS at bay, but he has generated fear across the generations on the potential for a nuclear exchange with North Korea. It’s not only his willful actions that have people worried, it’s the possibility of an accidental war being set off by mistaken intentions and childish taunts on social media.

With so much at stake in this year’s midterm elections, President Obama is coming off the sidelines to actively help his party raise money and focus the fight. On the Republican side, former presidential candidate Mitt Romney promises to be a positive addition to the campaign trail should he seek as expected a Senate seat from Utah, but his relative rational voice may be a voice in the wilderness.

The momentum-gathering blue wave could do more than rival 2010 when the Tea Party brought the Republicans into the majority. The election of 1932 is more analogous. That was a decisive election, and people voted for Democrats not only because they were out of work, but because they knew what policies had put them out of work. Faced with the stock market crash, Republican Herbert Hoover resolved to balance the budget when more spending was needed and raise tariffs when more trade was needed. The Great Depression was the result.

Today, the stock market is booming, but government is crashing, and the public knows why.

U.S. News Syndicate, Inc.

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