Two weeks to the Trump midterms: How things look

Two weeks to the Trump midterms: How things look
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With two weeks to go before the 2018 midterm elections, here are some predictions. Let’s work backwards from what will happen after this election to what will happen in the election:

  1. In December, during the lame-duck congressional session, the House and Senate will overwhelmingly pass tough, restrictive sanctions on Saudi Arabia, calling for removal of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MbS) because of the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi and a campaign of lies and deceptions that MbS led to hide his involvement. These sanctions will be passed almost unanimously — similar to the 2017 Russian sanctions — so they will be veto-proof.
  1. Congress will do this because they do not trust Donald Trump on this issue; many believe the president is compromised by Saudi money.
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  1. There is virtually no support among the American people for the Saudi regime. Everyone knows that 15 of the 19 hijackers on 9/11 were Saudi citizens and many believe that Saudi royal family and/or government money flowed through a so-called charity to several of these murderers, yet nothing was done to the Saudi government. In fact, the Bush administration enabled Osama bin Laden’s relatives and other high-ranking Saudis to flee our country in the days after 9/11.
  1. Khashoggi’s gruesome murder and alleged dismemberment have been followed by the most outrageous lies by Saudi government spokesmen, including the foreign minister on Fox News. Watching this interview was a jaw-dropping display of Baghdad Bob-style spin.
  1. The Khashoggi murder will be a turning point in U.S.-Saudi relations.
  1. Also during the lame-duck session will again come the issue of funding of the U.S. border wall. In September, President TrumpDonald John TrumpMichelle Obama says not always easy to live up to "we go high" Georgia certifies elections results in bitterly fought governor's race Trump defends border deployment amid fresh scrutiny MORE agreed to punt it, and a possible Sept. 30 government shutdown, until after the Nov. 6 elections.
  1. Trump will be furious when he cannot get the money from the Senate for the wall, so he will close the federal government right before the holidays.
  1. Should the Democrats win the House on Nov. 6, the GOP House and Senate will still hold the lame-duck session but the looming takeover of the House in January will make it clear that spending $25 billion for the wall will never happen.
  1. Now, to the midterm elections: Everyone is asking, “Is there going to be a blue wave or a red wave?”
  1. We won’t know until around 11 p.m. on Election Day. But we have clues. In every special election in 2017 and 2018, the Democrats substantially increased their turnout. This was pure anti-Trump sentiment motivating voters to come out and display their unhappiness.
  1. In 2018, there are only two parties: the Trump Party and the Anti-Trump Party.
  1. Turnout on Nov. 6 will be determined by the passion for and against Trump — period.
  1. The disparity in these two sentiments — the “passion differential” — will determine whether there is a wave for either political party.
  1. We can dissect polls every which way, but one thing is clear: In every single poll taken since he was elected, more voters disapprove of Trump than approve of him; and those who disapprove of him are exactly the ones who voted in the special elections. Logic says that will be the voting pattern in November.
  1. Thus, it seems likely that the Democrats will win back control of the House — probably by 25 to 35 seats.
  1. Despite what the pundits are saying, the Senate is not out of reach, either. The post-Kavanaugh GOP sugar high is wearing off, which is why Trump has pivoted to trying to scare his base with comments about the “caravan” of migrants making its way to the southern U.S. border.
  1. Tennessee has tightened again; Florida has moved slightly toward the Democrats. North Dakota will be a GOP takeover. Mississippi could go to a late November run-off.
  1. It still might come down to Arizona and Nevada. If the Democrats win both, along with Tennessee, they conceivably could take over the Senate. In fact, we are where things stood pre-Kavanaugh; the races are tight and can go either way.
  1. One historic note: often there is a surprise Senate defeat that no one saw coming. So keep your eyes on Sens. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas); one or both may be sweating late into Election Night.
  1. Anti-Trumpism also will cause the Democrats to win several crucial governorships — Florida, and in the upper Midwest — and begin to win back control of some state legislatures.
  1. Think back on 2010 and 2014. In 2010, the sentiment was twofold: anti-ObamaCare — about 53-55 percent of people were consistently against ObamaCare and the “dirty deals” former Sen. Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidDems wonder if Sherrod Brown could be their magic man Nevada New Members 2019 Meet the lawyer Democrats call when it's recount time MORE (D-Nev.) made to squeak it through the Senate — and the rise of something unforeseen and unique: the Tea Party as an energy inside the GOP.
  1. Those two factors powered the GOP to the historic 63-seat “shellacking” that was a severe rebuke to President Obama; no one had seen it coming until that night.
  1. Which is a more powerful force: anti-ObamaCare in 2010, or anti-Trump in 2018? They’re awfully close, no?
  1. In 2014, again with no positive message other than “We’ll repeal and replace ObamaCare,” the GOP again was shocked on Election Night when they won control of the Senate; again, no one foresaw it.
  1. That is the nature of election “waves”: they become apparent only after they’ve swept over the beach and left wreckage in their wake.
  1. Count on one thing: there will be shocking surprises on Nov. 6.

John LeBoutillier, a former Republican congressman from New York, co-hosts “Revolution — The Podcast,” available on Soundcloud and iTunes.