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Think things will be rosy for Democrats in 2018? Not so fast.


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President Trump’s approval rating is at 38 percent. His base is said to be eroding. Average approval of the Republican-controlled Congress is at 16 percent. And the president is at war with his party’s leaders. For Democrats, what’s not to like? The answer isn’t as obvious as it might sound.

Trump and the Republicans have concluded one of the least productive first six months of a new presidency. No signature piece of legislation has reached the president’s desk, and the notable failure to enact a health-care bill stands as an indictment against both the president and GOP congressional leaders.

That’s not to say Trump hasn’t had successes. On some fronts, particularly the regulatory rollback that he and Republicans have promised, the president has made progress. He has followed through on his pledge to crack down on illegal immigration (and now even legal immigration). The toughened policies appease his supporters and alarm his opponents. In other areas, trade for example, his presidency has been more bold talk than vigorous action.

With each presidential stumble or controversy, Democrats look to 2018 and anticipate significant gains. They are virtually guaranteed to pick up seats in the House, given the history of midterm elections. The question is how many. A tidal wave of opposition to a Republican president, like that of 2006, could sweep Republicans out of power in the House. But is that in the offing?

Democrats see evidence in polls and focus groups of an electorate receptive to moving in their direction. They see energy in the number of candidates willing to step forward and run for office. They are confident that the anger that put so many people on the streets early in Trump’s presidency will carry forward to the ballot box 15 months from now, although evidence about enthusiasm among Democrats and Republicans offers a mixed picture.


Don't get cocky, kids...

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