July 31, 2017

Publicly, the Democrats seem confident about taking back the House in 2018, but an internal survey paid for by the Democratic House Majority PAC dumped an ice bucket on their high hopes. After eight years of a sluggish economy, anemic job growth, skyrocketing debt, nonexistent border security and utterly feckless foreign policy, followed by seven months of the Trump Administration trying to fulfill its campaign promises while being stymied, investigated, sued and unconstitutionally court-blocked at every turn, they believe Americans now realize the error of their ways and are ready to hand power back to the people they just threw out. But their private poll revealed that fooling the Deplorables twice might be harder than they thought.

Among working class white voters in the key districts they’re targeting (like the ones Hillary completely ignored, other than promising to destroy the industries they work in), Republicans still hold a 43-33% advantage on the generic ballot. Despite their tireless efforts to demonize Trump, he still holds a 52% approval rating in those districts, while those voters disapprove of the Democrats by (brace yourself) 61-to-32%.

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And here’s the kind of stunning blow that cows get to the forehead at slaughterhouses: Democrats think that by tweaking their messaging, they can convince blue collar voters that they would be the better stewards of the economy. But these voters can see that Trump is trying to bring businesses and jobs back, and in many of these “flyover country” areas, jobs are starting to return. Result: on the question of who can be trusted with the economy, in the Democrats’ own internal poll, Republicans lead among white working class voters by a staggering 35 points.

And this doesn’t even get into the cultural issues problem: who cares about the Democrats’ slickly-packaged promises to help your business when you know they’ll drive you into bankruptcy if you don’t want to make a same-sex wedding cake or install unisex bathrooms or oppose abortion or use somebody’s non-preferred gender pronoun?

Of course, there’s always the chance that the Republicans’ stunning betrayal of their supporters in their collapse on Obamacare repeal will anger enough people to depress turnout. But I don’t see it driving their voters back to the Democrats. As furious as I am over that fiasco, I recognize that Trump and most House and Senate Republicans tried to keep their promise. What will be the Democrats’ argument for switching back to them?

“Hey, remember that budget-busting, choice-killing health insurance debacle we forced down your throats and that you threw us out of power over? Well, we stopped the guys you replaced us with from getting rid of it, so why not put us back in power again?” If they think that’s going to work, they must believe that a blue collar is an accessory to a dunce cap.

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