Trump is the GOP's midterm Katrina

Trump is the GOP's midterm Katrina
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Hurricane Katrina involved a mismanaged disaster in 2005 that saturated American television and paved the way for the Democratic landslide victory in the 2006 midterm elections. That election led to Democratic control of the House, the Senate and a majority of governorships.  

There is now a significant prospect of a similar change of power in the 2018 midterm elections. The difference between 2006 and 2018 is that this year, it is the presidency of Donald Trump itself that creates the ongoing Katrina events that pose huge danger to the GOP.


The Katrina-like pattern of events today create a plethora of mismanaged scandals, crises and events that build a gathering storm of widespread public opposition and an intense passion to vote among the majority of voters who disapprove of Trump and the Republican Congress. 


The scandal surrounding the Russian attack against America is a cancer on the Trump presidency. The scandal of the mismanagement of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico was a political and human disaster.

The scandal of repeated ethical misdeeds in agencies throughout the Trump administration gets worse every day. The epic scandal and shame of the abuse of immigrant children has created another huge wellspring of public opposition that continues to surge every day.

The core strategy of President TrumpDonald John Trump2020 Democrats spar over socialism ahead of first debate Senate passes .5 billion border bill, setting up fight with House 'Teflon Don' avoids the scorn of the 'family values' GOP — again MORE is obsession with rousing his base that also has the effect of rousing the far larger number of voters who oppose his actions. The core strategy of congressional Republicans is to march in lockstep with Trump and tie their political fate to his unpopularity. 

The core tactic of Trump, to turn each day into a television show of controversial events, only dramatizes the political power of events that work against Republicans.

Trump’s all-out attack against special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerTop Republican considered Mueller subpoena to box in Democrats Kamala Harris says her Justice Dept would have 'no choice' but to prosecute Trump for obstruction Dem committees win new powers to investigate Trump MORE has reached alarming proportion. The continuing cascade of new revelations surrounding the Russia scandal creates a building drama that presages an unhappy political ending for Republicans. 

The prospect of new indictments and plea bargains, especially from his former campaign manager Paul ManafortPaul John ManafortREAD: Hannity, Manafort messages released by judge Manafort, Hannity talk Trump, Mueller in previously undisclosed messages FBI, warned early and often that Manafort file might be fake, used it anyway MORE and his former lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen, creates high odds of an explosive crescendo.

If Trump pardons defendants or suspects or engages in Saturday Night Massacre-like firings, the political firestorm would cause catastrophic Republican losses in November far worse than the currently dim prospects for the GOP.

Every week brings news that the loss of life in Puerto Rico was far greater than the Trump administration claims.

Almost every day brings news of more ethical scandals by more Trump officials. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott PruittEdward (Scott) Scott PruittTrump administration to reconsider allowing controversial Alaska mining project Top EPA official stepping down amid ethics probe New EPA rule could expand number of Trump officials weighing in on FOIA requests MORE has become both a national joke and a national outrage. Every time Trump praises Pruitt he digs the midterm hole much deeper for Republicans.

The scandal surrounding the abuse of immigrant children creates a tidal wave of outrage sweeping across the nation.  The incompetence and bad faith of House Republicans who seek to pass purely partisan immigration legislation, in the midst of the scandalous abuse of the immigrant children, creates one more time bomb poised to explode in GOP hands.

The common denominator of these scandalous misdeeds and partisan GOP miscalculations is that they all flow from one central source: Trump and his style of politics and government.

One might say that Hurricane Maria was Trump’s Katrina. One might say that the scandalous abuse of immigrant children is Trump’s Katrina. One might say that the scandal surrounding his corrupt officials is Trump’s Katrina. 

One might say that Trump’s attacks against the Mueller investigation, his repeated praise of foreign dictators and his unsavory "bromance" with Russian dictator Vladimir Putin are Trump’s Katrina.

While these suggestions are true, the greater truth is that Trump himself is the Republican Katrina. When Republicans cling to Trump in political fear of his base, they are marching in lockstep toward a political hurricane that appears poised to engulf them in November.   

Brent Budowsky was an aide to former Sen. Lloyd Bentsen (D-Texas) and former Rep. Bill Alexander (D-Ark.), who was chief deputy majority whip of the U.S. House of Representatives. He holds an LLM in international financial law from the London School of Economics.