That’s what political analyst Jay Cost thinks. In a recent article for National Review, titled Why a Democratic Wave Looks Likely.
First, it should be noted, as Cost acknowledges, that the party out of power nearly always does well in the mid-term elections. Should the House fall to the Democrats, this would not be a unique event.
Despite the fact that history favors the Democrats this November, Republicans have reason to believe that they are in reasonably good shape for the mid-terms. The economy is still growing; indeed, it just registered 4.1% GDP growth. This is notable, especially after the tepid and lackluster growth rates under Obama. Furthermore, unemployment is at the lowest level since 1968. Additionally, the country is not bogged down in any overseas conflicts. Despite these favorable factors, that at first blush would seem to inure to the GOP’s benefit, Cost nonetheless argues that a blue wave is likely.
The major premise of Cost’s argument is that even though the economy is humming along, most Americans want their president to behave in a dignified manner that does justice to the office.
Cost initially notes that, “Trump is incapable of acting the way most Americans expect their president to act.” He then contrasts Trump’s demeanor with that of George Washington,
Our monument to George Washington may be a plain, white obelisk, but it is still a monument. The person who occupies Washington’s chair is expected to act like that great man, at least a little bit. He is supposed to be measured, restrained, and dignified.
Trump has been none of those things. He has undoubtedly advanced the conservative agenda, but he has not done so in a presidential manner.
As an example of Trump’s unpresidential behavior that Cost believes many swing voters will find not befitting the office was the firing of Comey. Here Cost makes an inductive leap that simply is not warranted by the political facts that not only propelled Trump to the Oval Office, but that have kept his approval ratings fairly steady in the 40-45% range — a rating that is similar to that for Obama at the same period in his presidency.
Cost’s reasoning is that the manner in which Trump fired Comey was so undignified, or“unpresidential” that swing voters will pull the lever for the Democrats come November because previous presidents would have behaved differently.
“The president was well within his constitutional rights to fire Comey, but the way he went about it was erratic and capricious. The left-wing #Resistance and diehard Never Trumpers took this as evidence of a crime, but that is not how the average swing voter — the sort who may well hand Democrats control of the House — came to see it. She saw it as unpresidential.”
Cost’s argument is rather weak and his conclusions specious. The Democrats may very will capture the House this November, but it will most likely not be due to the fact that Trump is unpresidential — a term that Cost leaves pristinely undefined. The degree to which Cost’s unpresidential thesis rests, in whole or in part, on a comparison of Trump to George Washington, is not only unfair, it makes his imminent blue wave conclusion wholly suspect. It must be noted in this regard that any president, past or future, is going to to be found wanting if they are compared to George Washington.
Furthermore, Cost does not address the fact that throughout the Republican primaries and during the general election, Trump was consistently “unpresidential” according to the few examples he offers, but he nonetheless defeated Hillary Clinton. The very same swing voters that Cost claims will give the House to the Democrats, simply found Clinton too corrupt, shifty and dishonest — in short, to paraphrase Cost, many voters found her unfit for the presidency.
Finally, Cost ignores the radical shift that has occurred within the Democratic Party lately. The radical left wing has held the party hostage. Many of its illuminates, such as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, an unabashed and self-proclaimed Bernie Sanders socialist, all favor open borders, eliminating ICE, free college education, etc. Many of their policy pronouncements are utterly incoherent.
These positions are far outside the mainstream.
The defining issue for voters come November, may not be so much Trump’s unpresidential behavior, but whether or not Americans want to transform the country into a larger version of Denmark.