31 December 2017

Does The Law Of Gravity Still Apply?

One of the most stunning features of politics over the last year in the United States has been the indifference of Congress and the President to public opinion.

Gerrymandering can insulate Republicans who are in power somewhat from voter backlash, but this has limits

Will Republicans pay a political price for instances like those below in which Republicans have defied public opinion in favor of minority views of the Republican base?

* Believe it or not, the President's refusal to sincerely condemn white supremacists and neo-Nazis  has not been popular with the average American voter.

* The Republican party seriously hurt its brand by running a U.S. Senate candidate in Alabama, Roy Moore, who was an accused pedophile who insisted that the last time America was great was when slavery was in force. And, President Trump did not favors for his party by wholeheartedly endorsing this candidate after previously opposing him in the primary.

* Believe it or not, spewing blatant lies on a daily basis does not increase your credibility. It is one thing to fail to keep political promises. It is another to deny saying things recorded on videotape that you said in front of national TV audiences or that are plain to the eye to see are untrue (like your inauguration crowd's size).

* You so nor impress even your base by nominating people with absolutely no trial experience and no familiarity with the laws applied by a trial court judge, to lifetime trial court judge appointments. Republican Senators, likewise, do themselves no favors in coming elections, by voting for these nominees in committee, only to change their minds about the qualifications of the candidates in floor votes.

* Pushing a bill to make it easier to get guns in a year marred by some of the worst mass shootings in history is not a good plan to win over independent voters. Neither is intentionally inviting the NRA to a White House meeting on the 5th anniversary of the Sandy Hook elementary school massacre.

* Telling police that they should engage in brutality against arrestee's in a public speech is not politically smart.

* You do not build a reputation as a "winner" politically, by undermining court challenges to your agenda with middle of the night twitter posts.

*  You do not build credibility about your ability to govern when three months after a Hurricane, 45% of Puerto Rico is in the dark, in part because the process was slowed down by the hiring of an utterly incompetent two person electrical company in flyover country who happens to have political connections to one of your cabinet secretaries. 

* Failure to prioritize disaster relief for Puerto Rico also forces the migration of hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people who feel like they were personally betrayed by the Republican party into states that will be swing states in 2018.

* Actively deporting "Dreamers" (whom your rhetoric on the campaign trail supported) and long time well behaved hard working parents in high profile cases is not a way to build popularity and a reputation for common sense.

* Denying climate change is a position that is increasingly unpopular.

* What the hell were Congressional Republicans thinking when, to add insult to injury, it added a tax break for private jet owners to its signature legislation for the year, and kept that provision in the Conference Committee version of the bill, in order to cut taxes by less than $5 million a year to a group of people already receiving huge tax breaks under the tax bill, in the face of immense public criticism and certain, effective, attack ads aimed at every Republican who voted for the bill in the fall based on that provision?

* Proposing a tax increase of six to eight thousand dollars on almost every graduate student in the nation is far outside the political mainstream and dramatically intensifies anti-Republican political fire in a whole generation of young people, even when it doesn't get included in the final tax bill. The long game is about building political trust with a wider base of people, not undermining it.

* Of course, Congressional Republicans didn't do the GOP any favors when it passed a tax bill that was overwhelmingly unpopular with the American public.

* Believe it or not, even though the American public is skittish about abortion, support for birth control is overwhelmingly uncontroversial among Democrats, Republicans and independents.

* Ending Net Neutrality is not an issue that a silent majority supports. It is wildly unpopular with people that otherwise might not be very politically minded.

* While Trump supporting Republicans seem to have forgotten this fact, cozy ties with Russia are not popular with the vast majority of Americans.

* Mid-term election results, at both the state and local level, are strongly driven by the popularity of the President, and no President in recent history has been as unpopular as President Trump a year into his Presidency.

* Proposing an unpopular bill to take away health care from tens of millions of American hurts everyone who voted for the legislation in mid-term elections, even if the bill doesn't pass because a few Republicans defect.

* Openly stating that the reason your tax bill created a deficit was to force cuts in Social Security and Medicare, which historically have been third-rails in American politics, is not wise going into a mid-term election.

* A Republican President is out of his mind to go to political war with NFL football.

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