Republicans and Democrats alike face troubling signals from voters

Republicans and Democrats alike face troubling signals from voters
© Getty Images

Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpMcCabe says he was fired because he 'opened a case against' Trump McCabe: Trump said 'I don't care, I believe Putin' when confronted with US intel on North Korea McCabe: Trump talked to me about his election victory during 'bizarre' job interview MORE should be alarmed, and Nancy PelosiNancy Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiThe national emergency will haunt Republicans come election season On unilateral executive action, Mitch McConnell was right — in 2014 National emergency declaration — a legal fight Trump is likely to win MORE should be concerned. The election results this week delivered messages to both. A House held by Democrats would translate into endless congressional investigations that the administration is logistically and temperamentally not suited to handle. The White House nightmares would no longer be restricted to Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE or the specter of impeachment. Rather, Trump, his family, and his staff would all likely receive a full political body scan.

Picture Wilbur RossWilbur Louis RossSupreme Court to hear census citizenship case this term Hillicon Valley: Lawmakers press officials on 2020 election security | T-Mobile, Sprint execs defend merger before Congress | Officials charge alleged Iranian spy | Senate panel kicks off talks on data security bill Apple, IBM, Walmart join White House advisory board MORE getting grilled on his questionable actions by the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Imagine Donald Trump Jr.Donald (Don) John TrumpHouse chairman: Trump lawyers may have given false info about Cohen payments Sarah Sanders says she was interviewed by Mueller's office Trump dismisses Ann Coulter after criticism: 'I hardly know her' MORE and Jared KushnerJared Corey KushnerThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the American Academy of HIV Medicine - Will there be any last-minute shutdown drama? Rule change sharpens Dem investigations into Trump Drama hits Senate Intel panel’s Russia inquiry MORE facing the music in open session before Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffWhite House, GOP defend Trump emergency declaration Schiff: Evidence of collusion between Trump campaign, Russia 'pretty compelling' Schiff: 'Hard to imagine a poorer case' than Trump's on emergency declaration MORE and the House Intelligence Committee. Think of Elijah CummingsElijah Eugene CummingsHouse chairman: Trump lawyers may have given false info about Cohen payments Overnight Health Care — Sponsored by America's 340B Hospitals — Dems blast rulemaking on family planning program | Facebook may remove anti-vaccine content | Medicare proposes coverage for new cancer treatment Rule change sharpens Dem investigations into Trump MORE, who would likely lead the House Oversight Committee if Democrats take the House, doing a deep dive on White House compliance with the emoluments clause. It would be a discomforting civics lesson. Then there is alleged abuse enabler Jim JordanJames (Jim) Daniel JordanWhite House, GOP defend Trump emergency declaration Rod Rosenstein’s final insult to Congress: Farewell time for reporters but not testimony House conservatives blast border deal, push Trump to use executive power MORE defending Trump, just in time for the 2020 contests. In the age of Trump, “law and order” is a punchline invoked by the party faithful now with less fervor and sincerity than “lock her up” with indicted Chris CollinsChristopher (Chris) Carl CollinsFighting AIDS domestically and globally means pushing more evidence-based services House Dems unveil initial GOP targets in 2020 The Memo: Pelosi ups ante in Trump showdown MORE the latest poster child of our times.

As for Pelosi, the results in Ohio indicate that Republicans are in trouble, but they also signal that she is a burden for Democratic challengers outside blue precincts. Midwest suburbanites are tired of Trump, but they are also weary of the longtime California representative. As a result, Democratic candidates in competitive districts may be forced to disavow Pelosi as their next Speaker. Such is the possible price for seizing the reins of power. On that score, watch Danny O’Connor equivocate as to whether he would support handing Pelosi the gavel.

His dithering may have cost him the seat. Prudence dictated that he should have followed the lead of Conor Lamb. In fact, prudence looks like it was frequently ignored, starting with Pelosi herself. Her infamous interview with the Washington Post last year fell somewhere between hubris and delusion. “I am a master legislator,” she said. “I have a loom, and I bring all these different threads together.” At that rate, why not just go full “Almost Famous” and scream that she is a golden god?

Still, both Trump and Pelosi have reasons to smile. In Ohio, Troy Balderson saved the president from the embarrassment of a loss. In Kansas, Kris Kobach, another Trump favorite and fabulist, pulled off an upset win in the race for the Republican gubernatorial nod. As for the Democrats, socialism is no longer looking like the flavor of the month. In Michigan, Democrats gave Alexandria Ocasio Cortez and Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersSenate Dems introduce bill to prevent Trump from using disaster funds to build wall Klobuchar, O'Rourke visit Wisconsin as 2020 race heats up Sherrod Brown pushes for Medicare buy-in proposal in place of 'Medicare for all' MORE the thumbs down and instead tapped Gretchen Whitmer as their nominee for governor. Party regulars can exhale until the next crisis or November.

In hindsight, the New York primary win of Ocasio Cortez might have been isolated, driven more by the demographics of her district than by policy. To put things into perspective, incumbent Joe CrowleyJoseph (Joe) CrowleyGOP lawmaker: Amazon would be moving into NY if Ocasio-Cortez wasn't elected Crowley says he 'didn’t underestimate' Ocasio-Cortez in primary challenge Ocasio-Cortez on 2020: ‘I don’t want to be placated as a progressive’ MORE forgot that he represented a majority-minority district, where nearly half of its residents are latino. Politicians, like house guests, can wear out their welcome. With less than three months left to the midterm elections, neither party will have much room for error. The Republicans live in fear of the president, his ever present shadow, and his underwater poll numbers. Meanwhile, the Democrats must continue to marshal their unruly coalition.

How it all ends up this year has yet to fully unfold, but the contours of a blue wave are coming into focus. When Cathy McMorris RodgersCathy McMorris RodgersHillicon Valley: Republicans demand answers from mobile carriers on data practices | Top carriers to stop selling location data | DOJ probing Huawei | T-Mobile execs stayed at Trump hotel as merger awaited approval House Republicans question mobile carriers on data practices Washington governor announces killer whale recovery plan MORE, a top House Republican, stands in danger of defeat, the party has a problem. Last week, Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamGraham: More urgent for kids in Kentucky to have secure border than new school 
 White House, GOP defend Trump emergency declaration Limbaugh calls 25th Amendment discussions 'silent coup' MORE posited that Democrats might even take the House with a margin of up to 12 seats to spare. Against this backdrop, Pelosi may even be secretly grinning. Trump? Not so much.

Lloyd Green was the opposition research counsel to the George H.W. Bush campaign in 1988 and later served in the U.S. Department of Justice. He is now the managing member of research and analytics firm Ospreylytics.