Posted by: Bruce Allen | January 17, 2018

The Two-Front Wars Faced by Republicans in 2018 and 2020

The fracture in the Republican party, most evident in the House, painted on the side of the runaway truck that is the Freedom Caucus, promises those seeking re-election in the next few cycles cannon to the left, cannon to the right, and, directly before them, cannon  from Democrats, the former, and far more consuming fight an ugly primary with heavy fire coming from at least one side and possibly more.

With political campaigns becoming increasingly more organized around military concepts–needing a good ground (infantry) game, a well-greased effort with boots on the ground, superior deployments,  comms and network, great intelligence–House Republicans will find themselves fighting the quintessential two-front war, generally a recipe for disaster on the field. Moreover, the noticeable lack of enthusiasm amongst staunch Republicans, evidenced recently in Virginia and Alabama, suggests the conscripts may not be that geeked up about fighting hard for the incumbents.

So, hand-to-hand combat with another well-financed Republican in a long and ugly primary, attacking and defending, followed, if one survives, by a race against a Democrat sure to pin the indictments and failures of the Trump administration squarely on your back with a following that is fully charged up about ‘outing the bastards.’ Sounds great.

Sounds like what the 2018 midterms could bring. If Democrats take back both the Senate and the House, the odds of an across-the board rout by the Dems in 2020, including the White House, look good. The good news for Republicans is that many of the Freedom Caucus would get swept away in such a flood. The good news for Democrats is that the economy, by 2019 anyway, will have consumed most of the gains of the tax bill, with interest rates already having risen for months. Some of the wind will have started luffing the economy’s sails.

The only thing holding the Trump administration in the air is the economy/the stock market, both beginning to froth, lotta foam on the beer. Unemployment 4.1%, stock market gaining 1,000 points in seven trading days. But no inflation staring us in the face. Paul Krugman’s ‘liquidity trap’ appears, once again, to be firmly in place. Carmakers are offering 0% financing for 72 months, so they don’t seem to be worried about inflation. The Trump administration needs 2018 to be another brilliant year. It also needs 2019 to be yet another brilliant year. It needs the longest bull market in history (?) to continue apace for another 30 months. That’s a big ask, with China slowing down.

So, can the SCOTUS justices eager to retire hold on until November, and then perhaps until January, to allow centrist nominees to be reviewed by a Democratic-majority Senate? If so, the right-wing tide will have reached its zenith, and the receding water will return to normal, where the political left and center have more to say about how the government is run.  A world more cognizant of facts. A world that makes a little more sense.dropdead

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