The Corner

Politics & Policy

‘Have Democrats Overplayed Their Trump Hand?’

In Politico today, I wrote about the shift in polling toward Republicans in recent weeks:

It turns out that, with apologies to Nancy Pelosi, Republicans really did have to pass the tax bill so people could find out what’s in it.

The GOP has made gains on the generic congressional ballot in recent weeks, with warmer feelings about the tax plan contributing to the upward trend. The improving numbers at least raise the prospect that, just as in 2016, Democrats will be lured by their abiding conviction in President Donald Trump’s inevitable failure and their deep loathing of him to misplay what should be a winning hand.

There’s no doubt that Republicans are in trouble. Special elections, fundraising, retirements and history all suggest it will be a strong Democratic year. A party with control of both elected branches in Washington and possessing just a 24-seat House majority would be in danger of losing control of Congress even with a pleasingly anodyne president, tweeting lines from Hallmark cards, at the helm.

But the new polling is alarming enough for the left that the progressive group Priorities USA released a memo suggesting a readjustment. It posits that Democrats were winning the tax and health care debates, then “in the last few weeks, Democrats turned their attention to other issues.” What other issues? Well, every other issue. Immigration, of course. But, otherwise, the crisis du jour — Trump almost firing special counsel Robert Mueller last June, “s—-hole countries,” “unAmerican,” the Rob Porter scandal — and the hardy perennials of Russia and obstruction, sometimes switched around to obstruction and Russia for novelty’s sake.

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