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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Monday, May 4, 2020

Trump, Weimar, and Congress

In Defying the Odds, we discuss state and congressional elections as well as the presidential race. The update looks at political and demographic trends through the 2018 midterm.  Our next book will explain 2020, with a discussion of the politics of coronavirus.

Lloyd Green at The Guardian:
Taking a page from his Charlottesville playbook, Donald Trump called the protesters “good people” and urged Gretchen Whitmer, the Democratic governor of Michigan, to “make a deal” over the shutdown. The president tweeted that Whitmer should “give a little, and put out the fire”. In other words, negotiate over the barrel of a gun. After all, his base was “angry”.

One state over, in Illinois, an anti-shutdown protester waived a poster aimed at the state’s Jewish governor, JB Pritzker: “Arbeit macht frei, JB.” The words that hung over the gates of Auschwitz.
A Trump administration insider conveyed that it was all a “bit” reminiscent of the “late” Weimar Republic. We know how that ended
...
Excluding New York state, the number of coronavirus cases have moved upward and the average number of fatalities appears stuck in neutral. This is not the re-election campaign Trump envisioned in January. Not surprisingly, some of his most ardent supporters in the Senate are engaging in political social distancing.

Kentucky’s Mitch McConnell, North Carolina’s Thom Tillis and Arizona’s Martha McSally tout home-state accomplishments. They are not embracing Trump. The impeachment vote feels a century ago.
McSally appears destined for defeat and Tillis is in a dead heat. Only McConnell is given a clear edge and even he is struggling.
 Catie Edmondson and Rebecca R. Ruiz at NYT:
Every evening from his kitchen table in southwestern Michigan, Representative Fred Upton, a moderate Republican running for his 18th term in office, posts a coronavirus dispatch for his constituents, highlighting his own efforts to respond to the crisis and the news from Washington, often with cameos from Democrats.

Absent from his Facebook updates are any mentions of President Trump, whose response to the pandemic has raised questions that threaten to drag down Republicans’ electoral prospects this fall, or of the president’s provocative news briefings, which have become a forum for partisan attacks on Democrats and dubious claims about the virus.

“You have to sort of thread the needle,” Mr. Upton said in an interview, explaining how he has tried to navigate Mr. Trump’s performance during the crisis. “I’ve been careful. I said, ‘Let’s look to the future,’ versus ‘Why didn’t we do this a few months ago?’ I’m not interested in pointing the finger of blame. I want to correct the issues.”

It is a tricky task for lawmakers like Mr. Upton in centrist districts throughout the country, who understand that their re-election prospects — and any hope their party might have of taking back the House of Representatives — could rise or fall based on how they address the pandemic. Already considered a politically endangered species before the novel coronavirus began ravaging the United States, these moderates are now working to counter the risk that their electoral fates could become tied to Mr. Trump’s response at a time when the independent voters whose support they need are increasingly unhappy with his performance.