2018 Could Be 2016 All Over Again
With media predicting an “easy win” for Democrats and loss of control by Republicans, Phil Giraldi points out that “On issues that really matter the Democrats are still clueless.” If they lose again this time, who will they blame? Certainly, they aren’t apt to accept any responsibility for being completely out of touch with most Americans. With Election Day tomorrow, we’ll find out soon enough.
By Philip Giraldi
Am I the only one who thinks the 2018 midterm election smells an awful lot like the 2016 presidential election? In both cases the punditry and media have been promising an easy win for the Democrats, in many cases predicting that the GOP will lose control of both the Senate and the House of Representatives. One might argue that those who are praising the Democrats are themselves committed establishment progressives who hate Trump and would hardly do otherwise, but winning will require selling something to voters that is more than that hatred combined with negative vibes for some women coming out of the Kavanaugh hearings.
On issues that really matter the Democrats are still clueless and continue to be a party that reactively plays both a “blame the Russians” and a “diversity” card to confuse, divide, and conquer rather than presenting any programs that would actually resonate positively with voters.
Opinion polling suggests that there are two issues that really are of concern to voters. Top of the list is healthcare. The Democrats rightly excoriate clowns like Paul Ryan—currently on his way to reap his lobbying rewards from a grateful K Street—who has often cited entitlements as the big federal spending problem. He conveniently ignores runaway defense spending and massive tax cuts for the rich, which he promoted while in office, meaning that the budget will always be unbalanced.
But, Paul Ryan aside, anyone who actually pays for health insurance out of his or her own pocket will no doubt observe how healthcare costs have skyrocketed under Obamacare to the point where insurance is available but unaffordable, with premiums that in many cases have trebled per month over the past four years. Those on Medicare and Medicaid might rightfully fear more GOP mischief, but the real damage has already been done by the Democrats, and those who are personally paying for insurance know that.
Trump and the Republicans want to replace Obamacare with something better, though there has been no clarity on what that might mean. But it is an admission that Obamacare is seriously flawed, a viewpoint that many voters would appear to share. So the choice is between something that is very bad for users versus something as yet defined that might just turn out to be better. The Republicans win on that one.
The second biggest issue for voters is immigration, both legal exploiting existing loopholes in the system and illegal. The legal immigration problem consists of those who are allowed to get green cards legally and then proceed to bring their entire families over including cousins. That was not the intent of the 1965 legislation. In fact, chain immigration was dismissed as a possible consequence of the law, with President Lyndon Johnson and Democratic congressmen including Senator Ted Kennedy assuring the public that it would not occur. Of course, they were wrong. Or they were lying.
Illegal immigration is the more visible issue and the Democratic solution to the problem is, apparently, to abolish Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) giving the United States open borders. I have a great deal of sympathy for those who argue that the horrible mess in Central America is the result of U.S. meddling in their countries for the past 100 years, but that does not necessarily mean the solution is an open-doors policy that will drastically change America. Bringing in thousands or even millions of uneducated and unskilled migrants who do not speak English and then requiring local governments to educate, house, and feed them is a recipe for disaster. Indeed, it has already proven to be a disaster for many communities, with standards declining and neighborhoods in decay.
Most Americans have sympathy for the poor would-be immigrants, even if their mass migration is currently being funded by George Soros to coincide with an election, but they also long for a return to the time when communities were safe places where everyone knew their neighbors and worked hard to get along. Today the social justice warriors have made a sense of community a crime, because it does not invite enough diversity.
So, comparing how the two parties stand on immigration, the Republicans win hands down, as they are pledged to stop the illegals and have also spoken out against chain immigration. It is a major issue, and the Democrats are predictably on the wrong side of it, just as they are with healthcare.
My big issue is, of course, foreign and national security policy, but it ranks low in voter concerns, even though it is a cluster of related policies that are corrupt and ripe for exploitation if there were anyone out there bold enough to challenge the status quo. Donald Trump appears to be, with the exception of Iran, disinclined to continue America’s warfare state policies, but the punditry appears to think that he is being consistently outmaneuvered by his hawkish cabinet to come down hard on Russia and China while also remaining in Afghanistan, Syria, and Iraq.
Recent elections suggest that there is something like a “peace consensus” in the United States, citizens who are tired of warfare and of the constant discovery of new enemies to fight. I think it is true that Barack Obama’s margin of difference consisted of voters who thought that he would not exercise the military option as frequently as his predecessor George W. Bush. In any event, Obama was worse than Bush, going hard after whistleblowers, assassinating American citizens, and destroying the Libyan government to leave behind chaos, a hotbed for terrorists and even for slave traders.
I also believe that Trump, like Obama, won because of the support of “peace” voters, being far less bellicose sounding than Hillary Clinton, and committed to détente with Russia and retrenchment in the Middle East. I know many voters like myself selected him because of those views, and he received considerable support because of them in the traditional conservative and libertarian media. Unfortunately, he has failed to deliver, but it is possible that the good instincts are still there. They are absent in the Democratic Party, which, because of its crusade against Russia, is far more hawkish and dangerous than the Republicans.
And then there are the intangibles: Having the Clintons and Obama out campaigning for Democratic candidates is like waving a red flag in front of conservatives, who will all make sure they get out and vote. And the economy is growing faster than under Obama. So, on balance, I think the GOP will do well this week with issues-focused voters and will retain its advantage in both houses of Congress. If that is so, the recriminations from the Democrats will start immediately. Will their failure be blamed on the Russians again this time or possibly on the Chinese?
Philip Giraldi is a former CIA counter-terrorism specialist and military intelligence officer and a columnist and television commentator. He is also the executive director of the Council for the National Interest. Other articles by Giraldi can be found on the website of the Unz Review.