Politico reports that while Trump's advisers are telling him everything is going just great as Rome burns, Republican leaders Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan not only smell the smoke, but they can see the flames already creeping up the side of the building:
Among GOP leaders, however, there is widespread concern heading into 2018. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has said privately that both chambers could be lost in November. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) has told donors that he fears a wave of swing district Republican lawmakers could retire rather than seek reelection.
During a conference meeting last week, House Republicans listened as the past five chairmen of the party’s campaign arm addressed the political environment. One endangered lawmaker said his main takeaway was that incumbents should spend little time worrying about Trump or the White House and focus only on controlling what they can. Another person who was present came away with the impression that if lawmakers didn’t shore up their political standing now, they shouldn’t expect the national party to be able to save them down the road.
Translation: Trump is an albatross and now that we have our tax cut, it's time to cut him loose.
That's a risky move for Republicans who have allowed their base to be hijacked by Trump but it may be the only move they have left. Trump has nowhere to go but down and the only possible way for Republican candidates to avoid the wrath of the extremely activated Democratic base is to put as much distance between themselves and Trump as possible. But unless they've been extremely vocal NeverTrumpers the entire time, it's not clear that this tactic will do anything but drive away Trump voters.
This is the trap Republicans put themselves into by recklessly pursuing power at all costs. By bending the knee to Trump in order to get their beloved tax cuts, they are now tied to his fortunes. His taint is all over them and as he becomes ever more unpopular, so will they. Hilariously, Trump plans to run around the country all of next year campaigning for Republicans because he imagines himself the King Midas of elections. Even more hilariously, he expects the steady economy and the GOP's tax bill to boost his popularity, especially as people find out what's in it.
A few problems with this plan. First, the economy is stable and stable is boring. Boring is great when it comes to the economy but it doesn't get normal people excited. Second, the GOP's tax bill was written in secret by an army of lobbyists and by Republicans cashing out before they get voted out of office. Once people find out just how corrupt it is, the last thing they're going to do is lavish praise on Trump and the GOP for looting the country. Trump doesn't know that because he has no idea what's in the bill but when he sees the giant headlines about how Republicans personally made themselves rich, he's going to foam at the mouth in rage; not because he's an economic populist but because it makes him look bad.
Finally, the bill severely damages Obamacare and Trump, like a moron, bragged about it. When he campaigns on how awesome his tax cuts are, people are going to scream at him about how high their premiums have shot up. That's going to look great on the evening news!
But unlike Trump, McConnell and Ryan don't live in a bubble of nonsense. They sell their lies to the suckers in their base but they know they've known all along that Trump was going to cost them everything they've stolen over the past 7 years. That's why they pushed through a massive tax cut designed to transfer trillions from the middle class and the poor to the 1% and themselves: It's smash and grab time for the party of criminals.
The only questions remaining are how much can they loot before we restore law and order in America and will we have the stones to break with our political norms and start putting the thieves in jail this time? They've gone too far and there has to be consequences above and beyond the blue tidal wave Republicans see coming for them otherwise they'll just do it again the next time they con their way into power.
There are 318 days left to the 2018 elections.
- This article kills fascists
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