A remarkably similar 34 percent approve of his tax plan, while 52 percent do not. Less than a third think the tax plan will improve the economy. And to make matters worse for Trump, 67 percent think he should release his tax returns, while only 24 percent do not. The safest vote for many members of Congress would be to vote for a requirement for Trump to release his taxes and against the Trump tax bill.
Just as Republicans attempted to tie President Barack Obama’s name to every policy they disliked (Obamacare, most especially) Democrats will soon figure out that “Trumpcare” and “the Trump tax plan” will set off alarm bells for a majority of voters.
However, since Trump does still command a relatively high degree of support (70 percent) from Republicans — although less than the 80-plus percent support that polls earlier in the year reported — his constant harping on the House and Senate GOP may explain why the Republicans’ generic congressional polling number is so atrocious. According to CNN’s poll, 51 percent want a Democrat for Congress, while only 37 percent want a Republican.
The GOP nose dive now shows up in individual races. The Cook Political Report tells us: “Based on recent developments in races and conversations with candidates and operatives on both sides of the aisle, many races have the potential to become more competitive. This week, we’re changing our ratings in 12 districts.” Spoiler alert: All are shifting away from Republicans. Cook now rates one GOP seat (retiring Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen’s seat in Florida’s 27th Congressional District) as leaning to the Democrats, 12 GOP seats as toss-ups and 23 GOP seats as only “lean Republican.” Put differently, of the 45 competitive seats, 36 are held by the GOP. If it loses 24, Democrats win the House majority.
Charlie Cook quotes one Democratic strategist as saying Trump blames the GOP for his woes, which “has a ring of truth to voters because very rarely does someone criticize their own party. So in swing voters’ minds, it must have some truth because it is so abnormal.” Trump is thereby helping to undermine support for the GOP among the shrinking base of party regulars who still support the GOP House and Senate leadership.
To recap, Trump and policies linked to him are toxic with a large majority of non-Republicans. Meanwhile, his vilification of Republican leaders is helping depress their support among Republicans and in turn risking substantial losses in the House. As for the Senate, Trump’s ally Stephen K. Bannon is bent on running extremist challengers. He provides constant reinforcement for Trump’s rhetoric that members of the GOP “establishment” (i.e. incumbents) are no-good, incompetent swamp creatures blocking the Trump agenda. Two Senate seats (Nevada and Arizona) are already at risk of flipping, and with the announcement that Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) is retiring and popular Democratic ex-governor Phil Bredesen may run, Tennessee now becomes more competitive. With another GOP retirement or two and a goofy Bannonite winning a primary here and there, the Senate majority will be up for grabs. Democrats may not have a cogent agenda, but they have Trump, which may turn out to be all they need.