The Democratic advantage heading into the 2018 midterms is immense (for now). Anything can happen. We have the political equivalent of two millennia before voters are off to the polls on Election Day next year, but Democrats are mulling their own base strategy. For Republicans, they’ve passed tax reform. Middle class families will see relief. Despite the hyperbole on the Left about this bill, 80 percent of Americans for the next eight years will be paying less in taxes. It should give the GOP’s base something to be excited about concerning a rather sluggish legislative year. Now, we have the most extensive tax reform in 30 years. It’s bound to become more popular, so we’ll see what happens next. Yet, with Democrats, they’re deciding how to use their two-time presidential loser, Hillary Rodham Clinton to get their side excited.
In six 2017 special elections, Dems won an average of 71% of Clinton's 2016 votes, Rs just 55% of Trump's 2016 votes. pic.twitter.com/iWVlwe1pWO— Dave Wasserman (@Redistrict) December 15, 2017
Democrats have a lot to be hopeful about; Trump’s approval ratings aren’t the best (though they could rebound for sure), the generic ballot advantage, and most importantly turnout thus far in special elections. In the six we’ve had in 2017, Democrats garnered 71 percent of Clinton’s 2016 vote compared to only 55 percent of Trump’s for Republicans. Still too early to be doom and gloom, but there are definite signs that unification and organizations are happening in the Democratic camp. So, why not use Hillary in some races. The Democrats wiped out the Virginia GOP’s state legislature advantage, clipping incumbent Republican House of Delegates members from districts that leaned towards Hillary in 2016. Yes, she’s widely unpopular, but in the areas that are competitive, Democrats and Mrs. Clinton know there’s a role for her to play. At the same time, there seems to be also a sentiment that it’s time to turn the page on the Clinton chapter in American politics (via The Hill):
For me, it's a no-brainer,” former Rep. Steve Israel (D-N.Y.), the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chairman during the 2012 and 2014 election cycles, said in an interview.
“If she's willing to go into those districts she won, she would be extraordinarily helpful,” he said.
“Trump's numbers have only fallen in those districts, so you start there. It would be such a loss if she sat it out and a double loss if she didn't go into those districts.”
Clinton confidants — who have spoken to the former Democratic nominee about the topic in recent months — are aware of the potential pitfalls should Clinton choose to hit the campaign trail. Clinton herself, they say, is aware of the tightrope.
“She’s the human personification of what the split in the country is,” said one Clinton friend. “And look, she understands what that means and what that means for her. She's very attuned to what's going on. She's not confused about it. She has some people pulling on her to be involved and others who are saying, 'maybe not.'"
“She’s very supportive of what they’re doing,” one source said.
Those who have spoken to Clinton say she’s fielding requests and deciding how to best wade into 2018 waters. “Has she gotten a lot of asks? Yeah,” one longtime Clinton ally said. "... I don’t see a scenario where she’s not doing anything publicly.”
Still, the ally acknowledged that Clinton will pick her spots if she hits the trail.
While many lawmakers said Clinton could be a valuable asset in certain individual districts next year, there also seems to be a growing sentiment that, on the national level, she could be a detriment — both for carrying the baggage of past controversy and representing a bygone era from which the party wants to transcend. If she plays a role in 2018, these voices said, it should be limited.
“Clinton can be helpful, but not a force. I mean, we’ve got to redefine ourselves and do our own work,” said Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.).
It will be a gift for GOP fundraising should she even decide to take a campaign stage. It’ll rehash the 2016 wounds among Democrats. It would certainly energize the GOP base. We’ll see what happens. I’m all for it. The lady has been a cash cow for the GOP for years and one helluva motivator to vote. It offers the GOP a chance to nationalize the election, framing Clinton as the sore loser who is now trying to wrest Congress away from Trump in order to screw over his agenda. If that doesn’t shake Republicans who might not be so enthused come November 2018, I don’t know what will. Of course, I’m sure we’ll be seeing the benefits of the GOP’s tax reform by then.
Oh, and this too:
Follow the thread. It's amazing, and also serves as a reminder to Democrats mulling whether to have Hillary campaign for them in 2018. If you do, it'll be all about *self* promotion.— Ed Morrissey (@EdMorrissey) December 22, 2017
Don't say we didn't warn you. https://t.co/2zMciYCNGn https://t.co/w6WhbkARvw