In his column, talkRADIO presenter Michael Graham gives a conservative viewpoint on current issues.
In America, Republicans are having a “Mark Twain” moment: It appears reports of their demise have been greatly exaggerated. OK, perhaps not “greatly.” But Republicans aren’t dead yet.
For months the political media have reported that Democrats taking the House of Representatives as a fait accompli. Nancy Pelosi can start polishing her new Speaker’s gavel.
- Read more: The right side of the pond: If you want to understand US politics, get to know Nancy Pelosi
And yet, the GOP hasn’t quite abandoned all hope. Tender shoots of good news keep breaking through the political soil.
According to professional poll watchers like Sean Trende of Real Clear Politics and Stanford professors Doug Rivers and David Brady, the magic numbers are “Mid-40s and +4.” If Donald Trump’s approval rating is around 45%, and Republicans can stay close on the “generic ballot” - with 4 points of the Democrats - then the GOP has a real shot at holding the House.
(The generic ballot question is: “If the election were today, would you prefer to be represented in Congress by a Republican or a Democrat?”)
The same with President Trump’s approval. Despite the non-stop, anti-Trump media mania, including an official “Day Of Rage” on the editorial pages last Thursday, Trump’s approval rating is hovering around 44%. Not great numbers, but the GOP is not out of the game.
- Read more: Brendan O'Neill: US newspapers denouncing Trump don't 'hold to account all politicians equally'
And then there are the political advantages for the GOP, starting with the economy. It is red hot, and the numbers keep improving: Four million new jobs since Trump took office, the lowest unemployment rate in 18 years, and - though his spokesperson screwed up the math - record-low unemployment for black Americans.
Which gives Republicans in purple places like Colorado and Arizona and Virginia something to talk about other than the Mueller investigation and Trump’s tweets.
In addition, immigration has surged to the top of list of problems on voters’ minds. And while there are a sizeable number of voters who oppose Trump’s approach, the voters most likely to be motivated to turn out in November are those who support getting tough. The math is simple in the US: Healthcare is a Democrat issue, immigration a Republican one.
And finally there’s the “crazy” factor: The loudest voices in the Democratic Party are those on the far-Left edge of their coalition. Democratic insiders have been delighted about how well more moderate candidates have fared winning their party’s nominations in places like Pennsylvania and Kansas, but those candidates aren’t grabbing the headlines. Instead, self-described socialists like New York liberals Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez and actress-turned-politician Cynthia Nixon are getting the media attention.
Based on the historical record, Democrats are all but certain to take control of the House. The party out of power always does well in the first midterm of a presidency, and the added fuel of the Trumpian fire should be more than enough to put them over the top.
For Democrats to be denied would be a bigger political shocker than Trump’s surprise win in 2016.
But if you’ve learned anything watching politics - on both sides of the pond - for the past few years, it’s this: prepare to be surprised.
Michael is on talkRADIO on Saturdays 10pm-1am