MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough believes President Donald Trump is permanently destroying the Republican Party.
“Political historians will one day view Donald Trump as a historical anomaly,” Scarborough wrote Sunday night in The Washington Post.
“But the wreckage visited of this man will break the Republican Party into pieces — and lead to the election of independent thinkers no longer tethered to the tired dogmas of the polarized past,” said Scarborough.
Scarborough predicts the Republican and Democratic parties will be replaced. But in reality, Trump has breathed life into a party that thrived locally under President Obama but had trouble winning the top prize, according to a South Carolina-based pollster.
Beltway pundits and coastal elites such as Scarborough are not immediately noticing this revival. Yet some political experts say the proof is easily observable.
"Trump still has a positive coattail," said Robert Cahaly, CEO of Trafalgar Group, a Republican-leaning polling firm that predicted Trump would win Florida, Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania. "People who are still frustrated by the establishment are still energized by him."
The Republicans have won all four special elections held for vacant House seats since Trump took office. Special elections for Congress are often used as a predictor of how well the party in the White House will do in the next midterm election. The midterm elections will be held in November 2018.
"People who are still frustrated by the establishment are still energized by [Trump]."
Cahaly has accurately predicted the winner in all those races, including the brutal special election in Georgia's 6th Congressional District. That race saw the Democratic candidate, Jon Ossoff, raise more than $20 million, but he was defeated by Republican Karen Handel in a special runoff on June 20. The race was supposed to be razor-thin, but Handel bested Ossoff by 10,000 votes.
Pundits also forget the shocking loss on November 8 for Democrats. It wasn't just Trump beating Hillary Clinton. In Pennsylvania, Sen. Pat Toomey, a Republican, won a tough re-election. So did Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, a notoriously tough state for Republicans. In Indiana, Republican Todd Young beat a popular ex-senator, Evan Bayh, for an open Senate seat.
So if Trump hasn't yet hurt Republicans at the ballot box, is there really a likelihood he will damage the prospects of GOP candidates in 2018?
New polling data from The Washington Post and ABC News indicate that's a possibility. Only 36 percent of Americans approve of Trump, according to the latest poll by the two media outlets.
That is a modern record low for this point in a presidency.
Yet once again, the polls may underestimate Trump. For one, the Washington Post-ABC News poll under-samples Republicans. The random national sample consisted of 1,001 adults, but the partisan breakdown was not balanced. Thirty five percent of those polled were Democrats, another 35 percent were independents, and only 23 percent were Republicans.
Cahaly said pollsters and pundits often miss the new dynamic Trump has introduced to the political world.
It's a dynamic in which even if Republican voters and GOP-leaning independents are turned off by Trump's Twitter antics and other behavior, the voters do not take it out on the local republican candidates — at least so far. (go to page 2 to continue reading)
Last Modified: November 21, 2017, 1:31 pm
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