The U.S. midterms taking place this week should be a referendum on President Trump and his bombastic approach to policy. However it\’s not. Trump has demonstrated incredible immunity to bad news, in the minds of his supporters all bad news has a second conspiratorial interpretation and therefore does not have the negative impact on his ratings that previous Presidents have experienced.
The recent history of the beliefs and values of Republican voters is curious. In the 1980s, the commercial goals of Wall Street, lower regulation and lower taxes, aligned with the social goals of evangelical christians, revoking of Roe V Wade and limiting social change for the LGBT community. Meanwhile proponents of the 2nd amendment, who have proved that multiple mass homicides can be explained away, were making new gains in granting greater freedom for individuals to buy weapons. These three groups, well financed, with a strong sense of identity were ironically fuelled by the bail out of the US economy in 2007. We know now quantitive easing helps the rich not the poor.
Latino and black voters who you could be forgiven for assuming support democrats 99% in fact are more divided, recent polls suggest its 75% democrat supporting to 25% republican. However they remain painfully disengaged from the democratic process.
In 2014, an estimated 27% of Hispanic eligible voters cast a ballot, a record low and far below the turnout rate among black voters (41%) and white voters (46%).
If congress turns blue what will this mean for Trump? He has freely used Presidential orders, in fact more than any president since Roosevelt and he was managing WWII. No doubt this will continue to be his tool of choice, but expect to see no further legal or trade reforms for the next two years. Congress will be able to overturn tariffs and there are some signs that Trumps personal views on criminal justice are closer to the dems than republicans anyway. Focus on Florida, Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, will we see a blue wave or blue whimper?