It's hard to say who is more ludicrous: President Trump sowing chaos as he tries and fails to run the government, or his Republican enablers reaping a harvest of humiliation with the sh*t(hole)-eating grin of House Speaker Paul Ryan.
“It’s not causing us problems at all,” Ryan said at a news conference Thursday after Trump’s tweet on the popular Children’s Health Insurance Program sabotaged Republican plans to avert a government shutdown. (Three hours later, the White House announced Trump opposed the position he had just taken.)
When Trump criticized the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act last week, which his administration was seeking to renew, only to reverse himself two hours later, White House Chief of Staff John Kelly denied the president had made his job more difficult.
"It's not more difficult," Kelly said with a straight face. "It's a juggling act."
That Trump is often ignorant of his party’s policy positions will surprise no one. That Republicans will humiliate themselves by mouthing obvious lies to stay in the good graces of a man who apparently paid off a porn star to conceal their affair, is slightly more surprising, especially when voters are fleeing their party.
The surprise victory of a Democratic candidate in a western Wisconsin state legislative district that backed Trump by 17 points in 2016 is only the latest sign that voters aren’t amused by the “juggling act” of Trump and his enablers.
“This special election hit the Wisconsin GOP like an electric shock,” Charlie Sykes, a former conservative radio host in Wisconsin told Politico. “In particular, they’re very worried about women. They are losing women, suburban women, and if you extrapolate across the country, you have a real problem.”
Since 2016, Democrats have outperformed Hillary Clinton’s performance in more than two-thirds of state legislative special elections across the nation. And in the six congressional special elections held in 2017, Democrats over-performed in five of them.
Republicans who retain some sense of shame are fleeing. Rep. Charlie Dent (R-Pa.), a conservative font of Republican bromides like, "we need to have a stronger voice from the center of the political spectrum," knows such caution has no future in the party of "alternative facts." So Dent is going home, rather than go to the sh*thouse of Trump's apologists.
Dent is among 34 Republican congressmen who have announced their plans to retire in 2018, thus sparing themselves the need to abase themselves with Trump and his supporters. That’s four times the number of Democrats who had retired at this point in the 2014 midterm elections.
In generic ballot polls about the 2018 congressional elections, Democrats are favored over Republicans by about 7 points. At this point in the 2014 cycle—which wound up being a great year for Republicans—the Democrats were actually ahead by 2 points.
Trump’s antics are driving a Democratic revival—with a lot of help from his enablers.