January 19, 2018

To listen to the media, we might as well just save money by calling off the November elections and handing Congress to the Democrats, because they’ve already got it won (if they’ve forgotten how badly they misread the last election, YouTube is filling with compilations of their Election Night shock and grief that Republicans love to rewatch over and over.) But there are a few cracks in the solid wall of denial, and Salena Zito points out a new one. Zito is the journalist who observed that Trump’s critics take him literally but not seriously, while his supporters take him seriously but not literally, which explained a lot that most other reporters missed.

She’s also made some previous unpopular-but-accurate predictions, and here’s her latest: Congressional Democratic incumbents in red-leaning states are underestimating the pro-Trump vote. They have been ignoring their constituents who backed Trump in favor of kowtowing to far-left progressive donors by blocking everything Trump tries to do and refusing even to negotiate with him. That might make out-of-state leftists happy, but not the people back home. For instance, Sen. Debbie Stabenow is up for reelection in Michigan. She’s one of the Democrats who unanimously opposed the GOP tax cut bill, claiming it would harm workers and companies would just keep the money. Instead, dozens have given pay raises and bonuses to workers, and Chrysler/Fiat just announce plans to spend $1 billion on a new truck plant in Detroit that will create 2,500 jobs.

Zito won’t make a prediction on Stabenow’s fate, but she says this is a new calculation in politics: that pleasing out-of-state donors outweighs what your constituents need you to do to improve your state. Democrats seem to assume that’s now a given, but it’s yet to be proved in a major, regular year election. We’ll see how well it works in reality next November. But if Democrats really believe it, they could do something completely out of character and put their own money on it.


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