April 28, 2018


Trump's Role in Midterm Elections Roils Republicans (Jonathan Martin, Alexander Burns and Maggie Haberman, April 28, 2018, NY Times)

 President Trump is privately rejecting the growing consensus among Republican leaders that they may lose the House and possibly the Senate in November, leaving party officials and the president's advisers nervous that he does not grasp the gravity of the threat they face in the midterm elections.

Congressional and party leaders and even some Trump aides are concerned that the president's boundless self-assurance about politics will cause him to ignore or undermine their midterm strategy. In battleground states like Arizona, Florida and Nevada, Mr. Trump's proclivity to be a loose cannon could endanger the Republican incumbents and challengers who are already facing ferocious Democratic headwinds. [...]

What has stunned Republican veterans outside the White House is how, even 15 months into his presidency, Mr. Trump still lacks any unified political organization.

John F. Kelly, the White House chief of staff and a retired Marine general, has scant political acumen. And while the White House political staff has sought to bring a measure of order, curbing some of the president's knee-jerk endorsement tendencies, Mr. Trump does not necessarily view them as his primary political counselors.

This vacuum has, as is often the case with this White House, triggered fierce internecine scrapping among those vying for Mr. Trump's ear.

The president's announcement that Brad Parscale, his 2016 digital guru, would manage his 2020 re-election campaign caught many of his most senior advisers by surprise, according to multiple Republicans. And the hasty decision immediately raised suspicions it was part of a power play by Jared Kushner, Mr. Trump's son-in-law, to isolate Corey Lewandowski, the president's 2016 campaign manager and occasional adviser.

Mr. Parscale has rankled Trump advisers by giving the president a perpetually rosy assessment of his poll numbers. He often tells Mr. Trump his numbers have "never been higher," according to two advisers.

Mr. Parscale has also irritated some Trump officials by attempting to take over the political portfolio, with his scheduling of meetings to devise an as-yet-unformed midterm strategy getting back to other factions.

But his ascension marks only the newest power center in Mr. Trump's political orbit: There is his White House staff, his vice president, the Republican National Committee, his family, his campaign alumni, his super PAC, his congressional allies, his conservative media friends and now his re-election team.

All are expected to want a voice in Republican strategy for Mr. Trump in the midterms, adding only more chaos, as one White House official phrased it, to an already unruly presidency.

...is politics.  He somehow managed to lose the popular vote to the (second) most unpopular major nominee in history and was only carried into office on the coattails of the Republican congressional candidates who ran weell ahead of him nationally.  The only sensible strategy for the mid-term is the President Bill Mitchell option.

Posted by at April 28, 2018 7:35 PM