American Greatness is just about the Trumpiest publication you can think of. A publication that aims to flesh out an “intellectual” defense of the president’s worldview, the site currently features banner ads imploring readers to buy former Trump adviser Sebastian Gorka’s new book. It recently published a defense of blackface and a column on why it is “impossible to overstate” the damage that “left-wing Jews” are doing to America.
So when American Greatness put out an analysis this week essentially blaming the president for Republican defeats in the midterms, I sat up and took notice.
The article in question, by thoughtful conservative commentator Henry Olsen, uses Democratic Rep. Kyrsten Sinema’s victory over Martha McSally in the Arizona Senate race as a lens for analyzing the national result.
“The biggest reason Martha McSally lost is the same reason Republicans lost control of the House,” Olsen writes. “Across the nation, moderate college-educated independents who had frequently backed Republicans in prior elections switched sides.”
Olsen puts together a number of statistics to support this claim, all of which are fairly convincing. But the most interesting part of the piece, to my mind, is the conclusion — where he explicitly blames Trump for Republicans losing control over a chamber of Congress:
McSally’s defeat shows just how tenuous the Trump coalition’s hold on power is. Trump won the Electoral College while losing the popular vote by over two percent of the vote, something that had not been done in nearly 150 years. Trump has not added to that coalition in his first two years as president, and that cost his party control of the House while also preventing them from gaining more than two Senate seats on a highly favorable map.
It’s possible he could gain a narrow re-election without gaining support if the Democrats nominate someone as unacceptable to moderate voters as Hillary Clinton. But he cannot change the direction of the country without secure and substantial majorities in Congress, and that will not be forthcoming without a change in course.
This argument is consistent with what you hear from most mainstream analysts. Trump’s white identity politics and violent rhetoric has accelerated a long-running education divide in American politics: White voters with at least a college degree are becoming more Democratic, and white voters without such degrees are trending Republican. Given that the Republican congressional coalition depends on white college voters, particularly those living in the suburbs, this divide spells trouble for the GOP in both the short and the long run.
As the 2018 House results continue to roll in, with long-time Republican seats in suburban and suburban-rural California falling like dominoes, the damage Trump is doing is becoming impossible to deny. Even some of his biggest fans, the editors of American Greatness, can see the problem — enough so that they’re willing to publish a piece outlining it. (Christopher Buskirk, the publication’s lead editor, apparently lives in Arizona).
Yet the president himself either cannot or will not recognize the reality. In an interview with the Daily Caller published Wednesday, the president blamed the GOP defeats in California on a phantom plague of undocumented immigrants voting.
“This is a problem in California that’s so bad of illegals voting,” he said. “This is a California problem and if you notice, almost every race — I was watching today — out of like 11 races that are in question [Democrats are] gonna win all of them.”
Yes, Mr. President: The Democrats are going to win them all, or at least close to it. But it really seems like it’s your fault.