Democrats are struggling to extinguish the ‘Trump effect’ once and for all

Trump is ‘within his rights’ to look into election irregularities: Sen. McConnell

GOP senators split on whether to accept Biden’s victory, support Trump’s lawsuits; Chad Pergram reports.

And poof.

It was gone.

Pelosi faces a management problem. Some Democrats wanted to show Pelosi the door after Democrats failed to retake the House in 2016. Pelosi redeemed herself to the Democratic Caucus by ushering in a new majority in 2018 and outplaying President Trump during the 2018-2019 government shutdown. But knives are out for someone in the Democratic Caucus after the party’s lackluster performance.

Moderate Democrats like Rep. Abigail Spanberger, D-Va., are warring with progressives like Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., and Ilhan Omar, D-Minn. Spanberger accuses liberals of veering off into conversations about “socialism” and “defunding the police.” Spanberger’s criticism crystallizes the internal Democratic battle. Liberals have more control. But they don’t have the majority without moderates. And, even though the Democratic caucus veered to the left, it’s doubtful it will advance many liberal legislative items. With such a tight majority, Democrats can’t put progressive bills on the floor and expect them to pass when they can only lose a handful of votes on their side.

That calls into question exactly how much power liberals truly have, despite their own gains over the past few years.

In the Democrats’ defense, the party came close to maxing out the map in 2018. And, President Trump wasn’t on the ballot. In retrospect, that phenomenon seemed to help Democrats.

After losing the House in 2018, House and Senate Republicans were concerned for other reasons about their prospects this fall. They fretted that the president would be a drag for the GOP on races down-ballot. There was fear Trump’s toxicity could inhibit the GOP from holding the Senate and drive the party deeper into the minority in the House. Turns out the opposite was true. Mr. Trump’s presence on the ballot actually bolstered the electoral chances of Senate and House Republicans. Congressional Republicans were always a little reluctant to cozy up to the president. That evolved over time. Now there are key lawmakers ranging from Graham to Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, who are alleging voter fraud and questioning – to varying degrees – the legitimacy of the outcome.

The political capital of vanquished, first-term presidents usually evaporates immediately. But not with President Trump. This is why lots of House and Senate Republicans are questioning the legitimacy of “calling” the election and electoral tallies. GOPs know they run the risk of alienating the 70 million-plus voters who supported the president. They don’t believe that message is going away.

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At this point, “Trumpism” appears to be an effective political message – despite it apparently costing the chief executive himself the White House. It boosted Republicans in House and Senate contests. And the Senate races aren’t over. So, this remains the drum the GOP will beat now.

This also explains why Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., played both sides of Broadway in his remarks this week as the Senate reconvened for the first time since the election.

“No states have yet certified their election results,” said McConnell. “The Constitution gives no role in this process to wealthy media corporations. The projections and commentary of the press do not get veto power over the legal rights of any citizens, including the President of the United States.”

McConnell has a host of GOP senators who are willing to stoke the embers of election fraud, questioning whether President-elect Biden really won. That shores up the base in the near term. McConnell honed in on a target of conservatives: the press corps. Such talk also helps keep Republicans fired up as the GOP tries to win two special elections in Georgia in January to avoid a 50-50 Senate.

Like it or not, the “Trump Effect” may continue to boost Republicans, even after he leaves office. The “Trump Effect” wasn’t what Republicans expected. And certainly not what Democrats anticipated. Pollsters missed it completely.

Graham told Fox News Radio that he “would encourage President Trump” to run in 2024 if “he does fall short.” Graham added that the GOP couldn’t “let this movement die.”

And that brings us to today’s crossroads in American politics.

Democrats are struggling to extinguish the “Trump Effect” once and for all. And Republicans hope to keep it going.

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