Who knows what’s going to happen on November 6, but I’m starting to detect something that resembles fear among Democrats; fear that the big blue wave that they were planning on riding to victory in the midterms may turn out to be not much more than a mere swell by Election Day.
Let’s start with Bernie Sanders who went on TV the other day and said, “I happen not to believe that there’s going to be this great blue wave.” Or this from Tom Perez, the Democratic National Committee chairman: “I don’t use the term ‘Blue Wave.’”
Funny, we heard the term a lot – until recently. You couldn’t turn on CNN or MSNBC or read an op-ed in a liberal paper without coming across some pundit predicting disaster for the GOP. It’s possible, of course, that Democrats don’t want to count their chickens before they hatch. Or maybe it’s that they’ve checked around and are starting to worry.
And they might have good reason. Midterms are always to some extent about the popularity of the president. And Democrats were counting on Mr. Trump’s personal unpopularity with moderates and independents carrying more weight than the strong economy. But the president’s numbers have been going up recently. The latest Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll puts him at a 47 percent approval rating. That’s a point higher than the percentage he received two years ago – and that was enough to beat Hillary Clinton.
So what’s going on? Two things, I think: The September surprise and now the one in October.
In September we had the Kavanaugh fiasco. In October it’s the caravan heading to the United States from Central America. Neither may turn out the way the Democrats had hoped.
I know someone, a Republican, who just moved to another state and thought he’d sit out the midterms because he hadn’t been around long enough to know the candidates in his new state. But after seeing what the Democrats did to Judge Kavanaugh, he voted early and enthusiastically — for every Republican on the ticket. And polls tell us that he’s not alone. Dianne Feinstein, Spartacus Booker and the whole progressive gang revved up GOP voters who might have stayed home on Election Day.
And just as Democrats tried to paint Republicans as anti-woman in September, now in October they’re trying to portray the GOP as anti- immigrant. And they can always count on their friends in the media to convey their partisan message — so the New York Times and Washington Post didn’t disappoint. How’s this for a headline on a hard news – news not opinion– page one story in the Times:
“Trump Escalates Use of Migrants as Election Ploy. Stoking Voters’ Anxiety With Baseless Tale of Ominous Caravan.”
And in the Post: “For Trump and GOP, a bet on fear, falsehoods.”
Liberals in and out of the media understand all too well that running against illegal immigration worked for Donald Trump two years ago – and they fear it might work for his party this time around too.
Even Americans who sympathize with the plight of those poor people in the caravan and understand why they want to escape chaos back home are more than a little uneasy with so many people flooding into the United States.
Who’s going to take care of them? What schools will their kids who don’t speak English attend? Who will pay for their medical care? Even if no terrorists are in the caravan – as the president needlessly suggested – how about common criminals? It’s happened before with the Mariel boatlift in Florida.
By and large, Democrats are pretending this is no big deal. Voters notice nonsense like this.
Democrats may hope that voters see the GOP as cold and uncaring, but a lot of Americans – no matter how they feel about the president — don’t like the images they’re seeing on television. They know if these immigrants are allowed in, other caravans will follow – and not just from Central America.
Nearly half of the world’s population – more than 3 billion people — lives on less than $2.50 a day. More than 1.3 billion live in extreme poverty — less than $1.25 a day.
What about them? If they somehow could figure out a way to get here, should we let them in too? Aren’t they entitled to a better life?
With the midterms right around the corner, Democrats are running on two fronts: the evergreen Trump-is-a-disaster front and what Dan Henninger of the Wall Street Journal calls, the “We care” front. Democrats told us that they were the ones who cared about women last month … and now they’re telling us that they’re the ones who care about immigrants.
But caring may not be enough to win over the undecideds. And maybe that’s why we’re hearing less and less about the blue wave that until recently was supposed to be inevitable.
Democrats may still win the House; the odds are in their favor. But if they manage to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, it’ll be because of the two surprises. The Kavanaugh hearings energized Republicans in ways the left didn’t anticipate. And now, progressive concerns for the migrants heading north may not be enough to win over voters who while empathetic, also fear that the thousands coming our way are just the beginning.