Publisher’s Corner: 2018 is going to be a tough year for Republican candidates

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It all comes down to 2018. Much of this country, through its corrupted and antiquated Electoral College mechanism, elected Donald Trump, now the most disliked, mistrusted president in the country’s history. As I write this, he has three more years to serve, unless he faces the impeachment and possible indictment that his actions have made him so richly deserve. Standing between him and this aforementioned fate are a group of self-seeking Congressional Republicans who are more committed to staying in power and having the words “Congressman” or “Senator” engraved before their names on their tombstones than doing the right thing about the very evil man who now inhabits the White House. When John F. Kennedy wrote about “Profiles in Courage,” he hardly had this group of characters in mind. They pass a tax bill that takes care of their donors. They remain mute when it comes down to calling out the president on his sexual transgressions or his bullying behavior. So until they cease to be in control, this president will not be impeached, let alone convicted.

Therefore, November 2018 elections are crucial. We do know that many of the congressional districts in America have been gerrymandered so that the Republicans will win. Nevertheless, every once in a while something so divisive happens in the United States that the 50 percent of the people who ordinarily don’t vote start to wake up. We saw that in Alabama when a whole group of people, many of them poor and Black, showed up and made a real difference. Doug Jones was elected, despite the Republicans’ overwhelming support of his opponent. It certainly seems to me that huge numbers of traditional non-voters will be motivated to show up in the upcoming election. When you are talking about taking away people’s health care, Medicare, Medicaid, education, healthy environment, and infrastructure, not to mention potentially leading a democracy into a fascist, totalitarian state, people will turn out.

Even though incumbents are almost always reelected, we will occasionally see a “realigning” election. Right now there are signs that we may be facing such an event but we are still a long way from the 2018 elections. The Democrats have to make a series of strategic moves. When I ask the many members of Congress with whom I regularly speak about impeachment, they often don’t want to talk to about it. They say they want to let the investigations “take their course.” The more stuff that comes out about Trump between now and 2018, the worse it will be for the Republicans.

The Bob Mueller investigation is still going on. Little by little, things are moving forward. Indictments are happening. If Trump fires Mueller, which is something I believe he will do, his fate is sealed and if the Congress goes along with such a move, they will be even more likely to face political destruction. Mitch McConnell, the Republican Senate Leader, has apparently told the president that both majorities in Congress could be blown away in the upcoming elections. It may really come down to Republican Congress and Senate members having to decide whether to repudiate Trump.

Every Republican will be in danger because people know that Republican Senators and Congressmen will hold up their hands to protect the president and this election will be a referendum on Trump. In New York, Andrew Cuomo will be the big beneficiary in his reelection efforts. Ordinarily some very good candidates like Republican Harry Wilson would have a decent chance of beating Cuomo the way George Pataki beat his father. This, however, will be a very tough year for any Republican to win.

The only way for individual Republicans to help themselves, especially in Blue states but also in any marginal district, will be to go after the Republican president whose national polling numbers have sunk beneath 35 percent. However, if they wait too long it may well be too late.