WASHINGTON – Looking to the midterm House and Senate elections, the Democratic congressional leaders, Sen. Charles E. Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, seem ready to let the processes already in motion work themselves out.
Neither of them is joining the small chorus of itchy Democrats who are calling for impeachment of President Trump. Schumer and Pelosi have very different reasons for their reticence.
The Democrats’ election victories in Virginia, Alabama and New Jersey promise a wave that will sweep their party back into control of the House.
Sensing a tsunami in motion, 17 House Republicans have already announced they are leaving for a variety of reasons. For Pelosi, who would return as speaker, there is little sense in making Trump a martyr. He is already at the front of the people’s collective mind, and uncomfortably so.
Schumer is facing a different task. Gaining a Democratic Senate majority, in spite of the grievous damage Trump has inflicted on the Republican Party, will be an uphill battle. About a third of the Senate is elected every two years. This year, the Democrats must defend 28 seats they now hold; the Republicans only eight.
Incumbent Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri is one of five Democratic senators running in a state handily won by Trump in 2016.
The processes referred to above are those of special counsel Robert Mueller, named to investigate possible collusion between the Trump presidential campaign and the regime of Russian President Vladimir Putin, and the antics of Trump himself.
Every time Trump starts to emerge from his historically low approval numbers, the president slips on a banana peel he placed under his own boot. After seeing a little upward bump in the numbers from passage of the tax revision law, he engaged the North Korean regime in a childish and dangerous debate about the size of his nuclear button.
Eventually many in Trump’s own camp will get plain sick of it.
Democratic strategist Joe Trippi spoke of this in the Los Angeles Times: “The sense of chaos, the constant fight, fight, fight and the alarm bells going off all the time, this sense of being on edge ... is what people don’t want anymore.”
Opinion polls probably don’t tell the story. Actual voter turnout tells the tale under these circumstances. In the special Senate election in Alabama won by Democrat Doug Jones, too many supporters of the execrable Republican Roy Moore simply stayed home.
There are a plethora of ideological caves that Democrats can wander into. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., wants free health care for all, free college education and, one supposes, free candy. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., recently jumped on the Trump administration’s announcement that the Justice Department will no longer ignore state laws that interfere with federal penalties against growing, distribution and use of marijuana.
Gillibrand claimed the Trump regime may want to block medicinal uses of marijuana. But little can be learned from the politics of New York State. That’s because the Republican Party in New York is effectively dead, and has been for nearly a decade.
Yet nationally, there is no limit to the types of causes Democratic candidates can be recruited into: restrictions on gun control, curbs on LBQGT initiatives, anarchy in Libya, impeachment of Trump and justice for quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
But Democratic National Chairman Tom Perez, raised in Amherst, set the pattern for winning in deeply red Alabama, and around the country this November. The key that Perez found to work the Senate victory of Jones over Moore was simple: Work and organize. Keep it local. And stay away from fringe, barroom issues.