Although President Trump likes the rally chant, “lock her up,” aimed at women he finds irritating, such as Hillary Clinton and Dianne Feinstein, it’s Trump who may be locked up (figuratively) after November 6. History and polls confirm what Trump himself argues, this midterm election is all about Trump. And, if Democrats take the House, they will have a mandate to restrain what I call the “Authoritarian Presidency” (see blog Authoritarian Presidency).
Trump’s and the Republicans’ main election weakness is the desire of a plurality of voters to put up restraints on his presidency, not encourage it. Of course, that corresponds to decades of experience where it’s the out-of-power party that is most motivated to containing newly elected presidents, such as Ronald Reagan in 1982, Bill Clinton in 1994 and Barack Obama in 2010.
The second problem for Republican candidates is that the swing voters who have reservations about Trump aren’t in a revolt over policy, but his personality. In other words, citing accomplishments and the great economy is undermined by his relentless disruption of the status quo and need for attention expressed in endless commentary, interviews, announcements and tweets (72% say he Tweets too much, 58% of Republicans, Politico, 5-18)
Hence, the 2018 midterm is either going to be an extraordinary victory for Trump if the Democrats fail to take the House or the beginning of “locking him up.”
Q: Would you rather see the next Congress controlled by the Democrats, to act as a check on Trump, or controlled by the Republicans to support Trump’s agenda? (ABC News/Washington Post)
Q: [Respondents who disapprove of the way Trump is handling his job, N=499] Is your disapproval of Trump’s job so far driven more by the positions he takes on issues or more by his personality and leadership qualities? (CNN/SSRS)
See Politico: Poll: Trump’s tweets damage the nation