Are Republicans finally getting the message? Polls (notoriously inaccurate, as Hillary Clinton, MSNBC and The Young Turks can attest) that earlier showed Democrats taking the House -- and possibly even the Senate -- are now wobbling with less certainty. Some leftward-leaning pundits are even tacitly admitting that momentum seems to be moving in the Republicans' direction.
Why could this be?
Perhaps it is because Republican national leadership is finally wising up and doing what conservative voters have been telling it to do for years:
--Stand up for your position.
--Speak directly to the voters -- and listen to them.
--Reach out to voters who everyone tells you you'll never win over.
--Realize that the press will not give you fair coverage.
--Admit that Democrats don't really want bipartisanship, nor will they play by the rules they'll hold you to.
Let's give credit where credit is due: It is President Donald Trump who has stiffened the spines of previously squishy Republicans. Trump saw early on that he would never get a fair shake from the media and took his message straight to the American people in his singularly blunt fashion. Trump has also exposed how false and fraudulent the press has been. (The press, for its part, behaves as if it still controls the message. It doesn't.) Trump dared to go after the votes of minorities, women and working-class Americans -- and his rising approval ratings in those groups have shocked observers who've claimed for years that no Republican could achieve what he has done.
President Trump stood by Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh when Democrat Sen. Dianne Feinstein dropped ("leaked") her 11th-hour sexual assault allegations. That sleazy stunt was a tactic from a bygone era, when the mere threat of a scandal would have been enough for a Republican president to go weak in the knees and pull the nominee's ticket. Plenty of traditional Republicans would have. But not Trump.
When Trump didn't cave on Kavanaugh, Feinstein & Co. were forced to follow through with their smear campaign. The resulting circus was a revelation of corruption, the likes of which we haven't seen since Watergate. Democrats -- and their paid protesters -- showed themselves to be deceitful, exploitative, hypocritical and -- most shockingly -- completely disdainful of the Constitution. These are truths that Republicans' prior capitulation has kept the electorate at large from seeing with painful clarity.
Not anymore. Republicans themselves -- most notably, the usually affable Sen. Lindsey Graham and centrist Sen. Susan Collins -- rose to the occasion to take firm stands in favor of due process and the presumption of innocence.
Americans noticed. And the polls began to shift.
The 2016 election blew a hole a mile wide in what's considered "conventional wisdom," so predictions might seem foolhardy. But it's worth pointing out some similarities between what happened in 2016 and what's happening now:
First, the left is doubling down on tactics that lost voters in 2016. Americans are appalled by the insults, threats and riots. Garden-variety Democrat voters are believers in due process and the rule of law. Using threats of violence and anarchy to get you what you want may garner front-page headlines, but it will win over very few people.
Second, Trump is canvassing for Republicans and drawing record crowds -- despite a mainstream press that keeps telling us how "unpopular" he is. The press said the same thing in 2016 (laughing, as I recall). In 2016, I remarked that Trump was filling stadiums, while Hillary Clinton couldn't fill a bookstore. The same phenomenon is playing out this year. Even former President Barack Obama can't draw a big crowd. Trump's stadium crowds are not only bigger than they were during the presidential election but there are also thousands more people waiting outside to get in. This doesn't look like the makings of a #BlueWave to me.
Third, people are fed up. In 2016, they were aghast at being called "deplorables." This year, it's the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation. Not only were Americans disgusted with efforts to destroy a man's career with decades-old accusations that had neither evidence nor corroboration but the screaming, crying, chanting mobs pounding on the Supreme Court and U.S. Senate doors also looked to be a harbinger of what's considered "normal" under Democrat rule.
Fourth, the electoral map is changing. #WalkAway is a thing. We're all hearing from lifelong Democrats who have said "enough" and are voting Republican this fall. While it would be stupid to conclude that the GOP will have their loyalties forever (in fact, quite the opposite is the point), the more immediate issue is that the Democrats can't count on those voters' loyalties now. When Democrats force Americans to choose between the Constitution and the Democratic Party, the Constitution still wins.
Fifth, illegal immigration worries the whole country. The "migrant caravan" converging on our southern border is a disaster waiting to happen. Thousands of young men tearing down barricades looks perilously like what's been happening in Europe for the past few years -- and we've all seen the headlines about the dramatic rise in rape, arson and other crimes, not to mention terrorist activity -- in the countries that have allowed migrants to flood into their country. No one wants that to happen here.
Add to this an economic boom, rising wages and employment, and stronger foreign policy and it's hard to see where the "blue wave" is coming from. Hating Donald Trump isn't enough.