Way back I had a friend, let's call him Bob (not his real name), who could fix any radio. I was deep into ham radio and Civil Air Patrol, and Bob had a gift. He had been a communications tech in the Air Force, and no matter what was wrong with an aircraft radio, a VHF, side-band, or HF ("short wave"), whether it was an old vacuum tube "boat anchor" or a new Yaesu handy-talky ("HT"), Bob could fix it.
Bob had only one condition: He had to break it first. I remember one time I had an LED display back light that didn't work, on a dashboard VHF radio we used in our squadron's T-41B (a little Cessna). I gave the radio to Bob to fix, and soon enough, he had the light working, but the radio itself was very broken. "Why did you have to mess with it?"
"Because," Bob said, "the radio wasn't putting out watts like it should. So I started tinkering with the final. And I couldn't fix it till I broke it first."
President Trump is Bob.
Unwittingly, and despite his own gluttonous ego, Trump is breaking Washington. He isn't just breaking "the libs" or the Democrats. He's breaking both parties. Trump is a walking disruption in politics. He's neither Republican nor Democrat, but he represents a shift in politics away from the educated, the erudite, and the evangelical, in the sense of trying to sell ideas or philosophies. Trump is Trump, and either you're with him, or you're against him but he's not trying to sell you some policy or lofty ideals. He's selling nothing but himself and the promise he'll break Washington, because if there's one city that is not functioning as it should, it's Washington D.C.
Republicans may very well lose the House of Representatives in November. If they lose, everyone will say it's a referendum on Donald Trump, who has been weighed, measured and found wanting. Not necessarily so, says the facts.
The damage to D.C. was done before a single vote was cast for the November mid-terms. Republicans have already lost 40 incumbent seats this fall, mostly to retirements, and some to appointments (congratulations to NASA chief Jim Bridenstine from Oklahoma, for example). From Speaker Paul Ryan to Bob Goodlatte, Trey Gowdy, Darrell Issa, Joe Barton, Lamar Smith, Charlie Dent, Sam Johnson, and Dennis Ross (and others), Republicans are stepping away from Washington, many to escape the bang-bang of Trump's silver hammer coming down upon their heads.
Add that to Republicans in the Senate: Bob Corker, Jeff Flake, Orrin Hatch, Thad Cochran, and, sadly, very likely John McCain, who won't survive until the 2020 election.
Republicans aren't the only ones exiting. Twenty Democrats are leaving the House, along with Sen. Al Franken, who forced himself from office in the #MeToo tornado. Most of the Democrats are leaving from comfortable safe blue havens, with the exception of Carol Shea-Porter in New Hampshire's 1st district. Minnesota is losing Franken from the Senate and Keith Ellison from the House. Ellison decided to call Congress quits but stay as the ultra-progressive, anti-Semitic vice chairman of the DNC.
The battle lines we all believed were about Red vs. Blue (or Red Blooded vs. Red Flagged, depending on your point of view), are no longer about party lines in the age of Trump. This is why we're seeing signs of a "blue wave" but more heat than light in actual special elections. Winning by the skin of your teeth, you see, is still winning. Trump won by 70,000 odd-votes in 20 odd counties lining the Rust Belt.
No matter how many millions of California and New York voters cast their votes against him, he still won, and those grateful voters who swept him into office weren't voting FOR Trump as much as they were voting AGAINST Washington. The same Washington that wouldn't hear them because they were "reliably Democrat" for decades. So the labor unions, the institutional elites, and the D.C. lobbyists couldn't care less how Iowa's 2nd district or Pennsylvania's 8th district or Wisconsin's 3rd district voted. That is, until they cared on November 9, 2016.
Those voters put a man into office that they were sure would break Washington, because he himself promised to "drain the swamp." The more Washington and its factotums, the media, the intelligentsia, and the globalist tycoons, railed against him, even for things worth railing against (remember Charlottesville?), the more these marginalized Americans believed that Trump was doing exactly what he promised.
And when Trump promises that tariffs will work, just suffer a little and give them time, many believe because they sent Trump to break Washington.
These voters don't care if Republicans lose the House. And honestly, neither does Trump. He can work with Democrats just as well as Republicans in the House. (The Senate is a different story, spelled "j-u-d-g-e-s.") In fact, with the Democrats in control of the House, Trump will have even more fun breaking Washington. Imagine when he discovers his veto pen! Imagine when he relishes shutting down the government and blaming it on Chuck & Nancy.
So, yes, Republicans, the party stalwarts, are in trouble in 2018. But Democrats don't have the resources to pour into every single race like they did in Georgia's 6th district (remember John, umm, what's his name, Ossoff?). They'll have to survive on pure outrage and socialism. It might not be enough in the Trumpier former blue districts where gun grabbing, living wages for everyone, and free everything for high taxes don't go over so well.
It's very possible that the "blue wave" might crest too early, and by November, it will be a blue ripple sliding across the sand. Sean Trende wrote in RealClearPolitics:
If there’s an argument to be made in the Republicans’ favor, it is that the incredibly high level of Democratic enthusiasm is skewing these results in primaries, reversing the trend where Democrats tend to perform better in the general. Perhaps Ohio’s 12th wouldn’t be a nail-biter in a general election, but rather would be more like a four-to-five-point win. Maybe Democrats won’t get their traditional boost over primary turnout in places like Washington and California.
Trump is counting on running the same kind of races in open seat Republican territory and traditional blue districts that went Trumpy in 2016 that he himself ran. Expect to lose, but try like hell to be the impossible underdog. His goal isn't to sweep Republicans into office as a party. His goal isn't, as it was Barack Obama's goal, to remake America in the image of Washington. His goal is to remake Washington, by first breaking it. Rick Wilson is right: Everything Trump Touches Dies®. Trump wants Washington-as-usual, and government as usual, to die.
The biggest self-interest group in America is the federal bureaucracy. With 1,917,523 million federal civilian cabinet agency employees, who all want to keep their jobs, this is the biggest voting bloc in the country. They look to Washington for their paychecks and to Washington goes their fealty. Washington can't be fixed until the political stranglehold is broken in D.C. It's impossible, just like Trump's election over Hillary Clinton. Just like the 70,000 or so voters in backwater blue districts who threw the chainsaw president into the antique furniture boutique that Capitol Hill had become--it's impossible. They picked Trump as their hero, and they don't want a single incumbent of that broken catastrophe to survive, from either party.
The president wants to be the hero facing impossible odds, because America loves an underdog.
President "Bob" will break Washington, and Republicans may well lose in the bargain. Now, the big question is, who will fix it when it's in pieces? I'd pay a dollar to know.