The FBI raid on former President Donald Trump’s home is just the latest in a series of unfortunate events that plague the GOP. It all started on June 24 when the Supreme Court, dominated by justices appointed by Republican presidents, nullified Roe V. Wade and the abortion rights that women have had for half a century.
Since then, it has been all downhill for the party with less than 100 days left until the midterm elections.
A national survey for The Economist conducted just before the Supreme Court’s Dobbs abortion ruling showed the GOP with a 4-point edge in the generic congressional trial heat. A new poll conducted last week for the magazine showed that Democrats enjoyed a 5-point advantage. That’s a swing of 9 points and millions of votes for Democrats in the last seven weeks.
Kansas voters clearly demonstrated their reaction against the Dobbs ruling when they overwhelmingly rejected an attempt by anti-abortion forces to allow the state legislature the right to limit choice in the Sunflower State. The resulting vote in favor of keeping abortion rights in this traditionally red state is a clear signal to Republicans that the party’s anti-abortion crusade is an electoral albatross.
But there is much more to the erosion in GOP support besides abortion.
President Joe Biden is on a roll. Gas prices are declining while the supply of jobs continue to grow. The most recent Democratic initiative is the Inflation Reduction Act, which is the most significant step the United States has taken to fight climate change, passed the Senate and is poised to reach Biden’s desk soon. The bill would be a welcome relief to millions of hard-working Americans who pay more than their fair share of taxes and to the people who have endured the death and destruction from the flooding, drought, insufferable heat waves and forest fires associated with climate change. The bill would fund the fight against climate change by making corporate scofflaws pay their fair share of taxes.
The agreement would also allow the federal government to negotiate drug prices with pharmaceutical companies, a change that could save billions of dollars for millions of Medicare recipients. Senate Democrats also aimed to place a cap on the price of insulin dosages for Medicare payments at $35, but Senate Republicans blocked the provision. Soon Americans will see ads that attack vulnerable Senate Republicans for their callous indifference to the millions of people who suffer from diabetes.
If the Inflation Reduction Act becomes law, it will boost Biden’s standing before the midterm election which in turn boosts the prospects of Democratic midterm candidates. He has already encouraged Congress to pass significant legislation to fight COVID-19, improve infrastructure and to combat gun violence. The Inflation Reduction Act would be is the jewel in the crown of an impressive presidential legislative resume.
But the biggest problem that has plagued the GOP is Trump’s refusal to leave the stage. The raid on Mar a Lago is just another episode in the tragic Trump soap opera. Predictably, Republicans, like House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), rallied behind their idol after the FBI search and seizure of Trump’s home in Florida. Trump’s hold on his party makes it easier for Democrats to tie the GOP to its fallen leader. Days after the raid related to documents that should have been turned over to the National Archives after leaving the Oval Office, Trump took the Fifth Amendment in a another legal matter and refused to answer questions posed in the investigation by New York Attorney General Letitia James about his dubious business dealings in the state.
His legal jeopardy on multiple fronts guarantees he will dominate media attention for months — while the GOP tries to keep the spotlight on the sitting president. The GOP congressional leadership wants to make the midterm campaign a referendum on Biden. Now the campaign pivots on a choice between the recovering incumbent and his disgraced predecessor.
The House committee investigating Jan. 6 exposed Trump’s failure to stop the pillage of the temple of American democracy. He has campaigned widely to aid candidates who believe in his Big Lie about a false narrative of the 2020 election. Senate Republican candidates like Mehmet Oz in Pennsylvania and Herschel Walker in Georgia won their GOP primary campaigns with Trump’s support but now are struggling in the last few months of the midterm campaign.
The worst thing for Trump’s party is that he has threatened to announce his candidacy for president in 2024 before the end of the 2022 midterm campaign. This is a clear indication that Trump cares more about himself than he does about his party or anything else for that matter.
Since the first of the year, about every pundit living and breathing has predicted a GOP takeover of Congress, but the GOP just couldn’t stand success. While inflation is still high and the president’s approval rating is still low, the GOP may recover. But even if it does, the magnitude of the Republican victory in the fall will be far less impressive than it appeared to be in the spring.
Brad Bannon is a Democratic pollster and CEO of Bannon Communications Research. His podcast, “Deadline D.C. with Brad Bannon,” airs on Periscope TV and the Progressive Voices Network. Follow him on Twitter: @BradBannon