The Post reports, “Democrats are blasting Rep. Peter J. Roskam (R-Ill.) with an ad showing a child in a hospital bed: ‘Imagine watching him going without lifesaving treatment because it’s been denied by your insurance. That’s what Peter Roskam voted for.'” Roskam, a six-term Republican, is in deep trouble like fellow Chicago suburban Republican, Rep. Randy Hultgren.
Ben Jacobs from the Guardian writes:
In suburban districts across the US, politics as usual has been turned on its head. Nowhere is this more so than in two districts outside Chicago that were long represented by Republican stalwarts such as Henry Hyde and Dennis Hastert. Among the prosperous and well-educated suburbanites who once made up its base, the GOP is facing rejection.
Roskam has long been aware of the threat. A former member of House Republican leadership who helped write the 2017 tax cut bill, he represents Illinois’ sixth district. It is one of the wealthiest districts in the country. In 2016, Hillary Clinton won it by seven points. In 2012, Mitt Romney won it by even more.
Well, if Roskam was afraid of the threat, he sure didn’t do much about it. He could have voted against the Obamacare repeal or revised the tax cut to focus more on the middle- and working-class suburbs. He could have pushed to a vote on a broadly popular bipartisan immigration bill. Instead of tiptoeing around the issues or merely inching away from Trump rhetorically now and then, Roskam could have condemned the party’s turn to nativism and climate change denial. He could have pushed for gun safety legislation. (The Post reports that throughout the country, “Democratic congressional candidates in suburban swing seats are embracing restrictions on firearms as election-related spending from pro-gun groups, including the powerhouse National Rifle Association, has plummeted. . . . The candidates’ emboldened approach, combined with the changes in spending trends, reflects a shift in the politics of gun policy over the past two years.”) Republicans such as Roskam who tried to walk the tightrope between their constituents and the Trump base now face defeat.
When the pundits declare that Trump and the GOP are “getting away” with something (e.g., lying, ignoring science, fearmongering), the talking heads on TV assume that the Roskams and Hultgrens will pay no penalty for the GOP’s descent into irrationality, bigotry and meanness. If the GOP is “getting away with it,” however, Republicans such as Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-Va.) in Virginia’s 10th (the D.C. suburbs), Rep. Kevin Yoder (R-Kan.) whose 3rd Congressional District is in the suburbs of Kansas City, and a flock of Republicans in Pennsylvania and New Jersey suburbs wouldn’t be looking at a political wipeout on Tuesday.
From Charlotte to Chicago to Kansas City, there are signs on the ground that in the final moments before Election Day, well-off, well-educated moderates in historically Republican areas are in fact turning out for Democrats, making the GOP vulnerable on a vast and volatile playing field and ensuring that the fate of even once solidly red districts is uncertain until the end.
“I have a little button I wear every once in a while, this is what it says: ‘Thanks Trump, you turned me into an activist,’” said Beth Monaghan, who earlier this year ran unsuccessfully in a North Carolina GOP state Senate primary.
Now, she is a prominent member of Republicans for Dan—a group supporting Democrat Dan McCready—here in the state’s Ninth District, a longtime GOP bastion that stretches east from south Charlotte, where McCready is locked in a close race with Republican Mark Harris.
Trump and Republicans who refused to plant themselves firmly in the middle of the political spectrum very well could pay a steep political price at the poll and may be responsible for a major realignment that takes the suburbs (with women leading the way) out of the Republican column for the foreseeable future. The lazy punditry that “nothing matters” because Trump’s base will stick with him no matter what inane or racist thing he says ignores important math: There are not enough white, working-class men animated by fearmongering to sustain the Republican Party if it loses college-educated, suburban, female and younger voters. If Democrats get a healthy share of those groups in addition to their traditional base of urbanites and nonwhites, they will have wins up and down the ticket, throughout the country. The irrationality caucus simply isn’t big enough or geographically diverse enough to keep the House — or the presidency for that matter — in GOP hands if others turn out to vote in strong numbers.
Trump struggles to paint the Democrats as the angry mob, but when suburbanites turn on the TV to hear Trump hyperventilating about a nonexistent “invasion,” Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) screaming at the top of his lungs about a plot to get Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh, Republicans denying climate change, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen both denying a child separation policy and defending the administration’s inhumane treatment of migrant children, and the nonstop barrage of unhinged tweets from the president, it isn’t the Democratic Party that looks like an unhinged mob. Democrats aren’t the ones leading chants to “Lock her up!” or shaking their fists at the press. Domestic terrorists aren’t getting inspiration from the Democratic Party.
If the race is about which party is stable, sane and moderate, Democrats will win big. And they will have Trump and chicken-hearted Republicans to thank for it.