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Robin Smith / April 16, 2018

Republicans in 2018: Fight or Flight

Conventional wisdom says the midterm elections will be a disaster for the Republican Party.

The midterm elections are Nov. 6, 2018. If viewed through the lens of conventional wisdom, they will be a disaster for the Republican Party.

The November 2016 election was a political earthquake. Democrats failed in their well-orchestrated efforts to hand-off Barack Obama’s progressive legacy to Hillary Clinton. This failure was only made worse by losing to a complete political novice whose résumé was never polished or positioned for elected office.

The Democrat base is energized not by policy but by sheer hatred for President Donald Trump. Leftists’ disdain drips with irrationality. Special elections and state election cycles since 2016 have reflected the mobilized anger of the political Left, with more than 30 wins for Democrats, including seats typically carried by Republicans.

This is no outlier effect or polling anomaly. According to Politico’s recent analysis, “If you do the math, you find that in the last 21 midterms, the party holding the White House lost an average of 31 seats.” Looking even further back, the American Journal of Political Science published a piece in 1986 declaring, “The President’s Party Midterm Elections: Going from Bad to Worse.” In fact, that analysis found, “One of the few iron laws of politics is the loss of seats by the president’s party in midterm House elections.” It proves consistent dating back to the advent of the current two-party system in the 1860s.

Take these trends into consideration with a quick pause to remember what center-Right voters were asked in 2010 when Republicans took the House majority: “We need to win the Senate.” Then, in 2014, when the Senate moved to the GOP, the call was, “We need to win the White House.” Now, in 2018, while the math is still unfavorable in the Senate due to the perverted use of the filibuster rule, what do Republican voters see?

Is there a renewed call to bridge the narrow gap in the Senate and hold the House? Are we seeing a unified GOP touting the economic confidence and improvement with historic employment levels?

Uh, nope. Republicans are heading for the exits.

The Atlantic has a Congressional Retirement Tracker, and last week the magazine asserted, “2018 is shaping up ominously for Republicans, who will be defending twice as many open seats this fall as Democrats.” Specifically, “there will be 19 open House seats vacated by Democrats and 40 by Republicans.”

In the House, Republicans have observed rules limiting the tenure of committee chairmen to promote advancement in leadership. Six of the exits from the House are those who would lose their gavel due to caucus governance. So, while term limits work to grow the ranks of new GOP leadership, the idea of leaving the chairman’s chair is not appealing to its occupants who’ve decided to retire instead. In the Senate, Democrats will be defending more seats on the ballot, yet two open seats due to retirements announced by Senators Bob Corker of Tennessee and Jeff Flake of Arizona leave the Senate’s fragile majority in question.

Subscribing to the prevailing wisdom of political science and the vocal-and-always-outraged #Resistance of the Democrats, Republicans should just hang it up, right?

Well, that’s what we were told after Trump won the GOP presidential primary. Americans were told by the prognosticators, pollsters and professional political class that the reason Trump won the primary was the division among the ranks yielding a fractured vote that spat out a not-ready-for-primetime novice. Americans were also told that Trump would be — snicker, chortle, sniff — handily beaten by Hillary Clinton.

The same American voters are seeing Democrats applaud the repeal of the Second Amendment in an overreaction to the violence witnessed by troubled students and adults alike. They’re seeing Democrats make an effort to model America after California’s politics, which features the practice of harboring illegal immigrants while rejecting the enforcement of current immigration law, to go along with one of the highest tax burdens in the nation. Add that to the sniveling of Nancy Pelosi and some of her parrots in declaring the Trump/GOP tax cuts to be mere “crumbs” as major American companies issued $1,000 bonuses and increased wages in response to those cuts.

In simplest terms, the November elections this year could be a complete disaster … if Republicans don’t fight for Americans. The reason Donald Trump won in both the GOP presidential primary and the general election of 2016 was his fearless approach to fight for the interests of Americans. He called for the enforcement of immigration law, not an open border; he demanded free and fair trade, not continued pretense of fairness when all the negotiations favored our foreign trade partners; he called a terrorist “evil” and allowed the military to fight to win, rather than lead from behind; and he exposed the very prevalent bias of the national media against all things conservative, especially Christianity, instead of pacifying a never-appeased Leftmedia.

Republicans can win if they fight for Americans. It’s the fight in Trump that endears him, despite his long list of imperfections, to the working American. You see, those willing to fight for something tend to have the moral high ground of credibility regarding principle.

Trump brings to life the quotes of some of our most revered leaders, like Lady Margaret Thatcher, who posited, “If you just set out to be liked, you will be prepared to compromise on anything at anytime, and would achieve nothing.”

Likewise, Sir Winston Churchill’s imperative has been evidenced during the days of Trump: “Never give in — never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.”

Finally, Republican President Theodore Roosevelt’s proclamation to the critics is characteristic of the Trump era: “The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

Which is it Republicans, flight or fight?

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