Crystal ball time: Where are we headed politically?

Crystal ball time: Where are we headed politically?
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With 92 days until the Nov. 6 midterm elections, let us look ahead with these bullet points:

  • Two parties are running this year, and only two — the Trump Party and the Anti-Trump Party.
  • By the way, can you imagine what it is like to be a Republican member of Congress — with your own career and record, all of which preceded Trump — and all anyone wants to talk about now is Trump and his latest tweet or statement?
  • If Trump “nationalizes” this election even more than it is, the GOP will lose even more seats.
  • Ask yourself this: Have you had a conversation even touching on politics or policy or governance that hasn’t immediately moved to the subject of Trump?
  • Trump is at 38 percent in the Quinnipiac poll nationally; his disapproval is at 56 percent — and this is in the midst of a growing, healthy economy!
  • A normal, properly-behaving POTUS with these economic numbers should be in the mid-50s in approval. But Trump’s toxic behavior steps all over the good news.
  • Yes, inside the shrinking GOP/Fox News/talk radio base (fewer people today self-identify as Republicans than in 2016), he is indeed extremely popular;
  • But among the public at large, he is under water with all groups except white men;
  • Among women — who are 52 percent of the populace — he and the GOP have a 25-point gender gap; there indeed will be an increase in women’s turnout, young people’s turnout and turnout by blacks and Latinos; we already have seen that in every special election in 2017 and 2018.
  • All the people offended by Trump — purposely offended, in order to jack up his own base’s turnout (i.e., attacking Lebron James and NFL players in a clearly racial manner) — will pay back Trump and the GOP on Nov. 6.
  • This will be the first time since Election Night 2016 for most American voters to express their feelings about Trump;
  • And the polling has shown a consistent majority disapproving of Trump — averaging around 55 percent.
  • Prediction: At a not-too-distant point, Mueller will indict Americans who conspired with the Russians to violate federal law;
  • Mueller might also indict Vladimir Putin on these charges. Why not? If 13 Russian GRU officers have been indicted, why shouldn’t the man who issued their orders be charged? (No, he’ll never be brought to justice here, but the “speaking” indictment would tell the world the actions Putin took to undermine our democracy.)
  • President Trump might be included in this case as an “unindicted co-conspirator,” a la Richard Nixon in Watergate, on the theory that a sitting POTUS cannot be criminally indicted while in office; the route for him is to go to the House for possible impeachment proceedings.
  • If any of this should happen before Nov. 6, it will only accelerate the continued deterioration of Trump and the GOP.
  • Mueller should try to get this wrapped up before the election. In 2016, Americans did not know Trump was under investigation as they voted; this time, they do — and they deserve to know the results of that investigation before they vote again as a country.
  • But if it does not happen before Nov. 6, the Mueller probe will come to an end before the 2020 race begins.
  • If Trump himself is criminally implicated, it will spell his downfall; yes, a hardcore 30-ish percent will stick with him to the end, but his presidency will come to an end;
  • If only those around him are charged, then he remains the odds-on favorite to be re-nominated in 2020.
  •  Once Democrats regain control of the House, their internal battle will become a truly national story: “Are the Democrats now the Socialist Party?” That narrative will dominate Democratic Party politics right into the 2020 Democratic primary season;
  • And that will be the foil Trump loves to use to distract from his own failures.

 John LeBoutillier, a former U.S. congressman (R-N.Y.), is the co-host of REVOLUTION — The Podcast, available on Soundcloud and iTunes.