Success and failure on Capitol Hill often have very little to do with whether or not a party can keep their majorities. The ebb and flow of American political sentiment by voters is more often based on opposition to something rather than reward or punishment. In other words, Capitol Hill can pass legislation or not and still get voted out. Retaining majorities is more about demonstrating a willingness to fight whatever the political boogeyman of the day is.
I often hear our editor-in-chief, JD Rucker, say, “Trump didn’t win the election. He just lost less than Hillary.” That sets us up for a major upheaval in the Senate, but the majority in the House should be safe. Or is it?
The news has been nothing but bad for the administration since Michael Flynn started working with special counsel Robert Mueller. Rumors are floating that the President’s son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, could be in Mueller’s crosshairs. To make things worse, a series of Tweets from the President (though some were allegedly written by his lawyer) have even more Democrats than usually calling him out for obstruction and demanding impeachment.
Left-wing mainstream media is already pouncing on this. They are pointing to one glaring fact: the House of Representatives initiates impeachment and right now they’re controlled by the GOP. The one lesson most Americans still remember from civics class is that there are checks and balances built into the government. With the media reminding everyone that impeachment is unlikely with a GOP Congress, the good ol’ checks and balances argument is going to be made in 2018.
That’s not to say that a majority of people want the President impeached. However, the angst that comes when people are made to believe the President has nothing stopping him from doing whatever he wants to do is enough to energize the Democrats’ base. More importantly, it’s enough to get Independents riled up to bring accountability to bear.
It would be naive to point to events today as reasons why people will vote one way or the other in November, but the seeds are definitely being planted. Mike Allen over at Axios plugged in all the appropriate spins in an article today about John Dowd’s claim the “President cannot obstruct justice.” There are legal debates that can be had on this topic, but in the court of public opinion, this will be understood by the general public and amplified by the media as the President being above the law.
John Dowd, President Trump’s outside lawyer, outlined to me a new and highly controversial defense/theory in the Russia probe: A president cannot be guilty of obstruction of justice.
The “President cannot obstruct justice because he is the chief law enforcement officer under [the Constitution’s Article II] and has every right to express his view of any case,” Dowd claims.
The messaging coming out of the White House is very, very wrong right now. It may not matter what Congress is able to pass or not if they can’t get a handle on the President himself. Twitter might have helped to get him into office, but it’s quickly becoming the Republican Party’s biggest liability.