The Corner


‘Winning by Losing,’ 2018 Edition

Politico reports on chatter among Republicans that President Trump would be better off if the party loses control of the House this fall. It’s not a crazy idea, by any means, and talk like it surfaced in the 2006 and 2010 midterms too. (These were, not coincidentally, years when the president’s party was on its way to losing the House with or without that chatter.) I’ve sometimes indulged in it myself.

Losing the House would give Trump a foil, relieve him of responsibility for getting anything done, and reduce complacency among his supporters. He would have to give up the chance of getting much done by working with Congress, but that seems to have happened already anyway. A fight over impeachment would probably — depending, to some extent, on the fact pattern — harden the support of some of his currently soft supporters.

The major downside, from Trump’s perspective: An opposition party is always more likely to use its subpoena power against an administration than his own party is, and that’s especially true in the case of this administration.

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

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