Monday, October 21, 2019

Trump And The 2020 Connecticut Presidential Campaign


Connecticut Democrats ran against Trump in the last off-year presidential election, and he was not on the ballot. There were no ringing defenses of Trump among Connecticut Republicans, who tend to be rather shy on the subject of Trump’s accomplishments, the most important of which involves jobs produced in Connecticut by Trump’s aggressive military procurement policy. Electric Boat, Sikorsky and Pratt & Whitney are producing jobs and hiring new workers at a record pace, all of which will, during the next 20 years, produce tax revenue for a state still mired in a recession that ended elsewhere in the nation about 10 years ago.

Despite Connecticut’s 30-year-long descent into economic turmoil, Connecticut progressives did very well in the 2018 elections. Hard won Republican gains in the General Assembly were wiped out, and the progressive caucus in the Democrat dominant General Assembly is now approaching 50 percent. In 2020, Trump will be on the ballot in Connecticut, despite an effort by some Democrats to remove his name from the ballot.

Will the state witness in the 2020 elections a repeat of the 2018 election?

This is doubtful, because there are no such exact repetitions in politics, except for well-organized incumbent Democrats running in safe districts that have money and influence enough to win elections. U.S. Representative Rosa DeLauro and U.S. Senator Dick Blumenthal fall into this safe zone, DeLauro because large cities in her district will continue to support her even if, to borrow a memorable phrase from Trump, she shoots someone on Main Street in New Haven. And, of course, DeLauro has plenty of walking around money with which, over the years, she has purchased support from other Democrats. Blumenthal --- who came by his wealth the old way, by marrying into it -- also is fabulously rich, and highly esteemed by a media that cringingly assents to Democrat socialist Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders’ eat the rich messaging. Blumenthal favors Sanders’ universal health care proposals, which would make a wreck of Connecticut’s insurance industries, as well as New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s anarchic vision of a universe without fossil fuels.    

Republican office holders did not rush to Trump’s defense when he was being accused, inferentially, of colluding with Russian President Vladimir Putin to deny then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton her coronation at the White House. Now that Robert Mueller’s report has been tucked into bed, most of us know there was no collusion. Most recently, Hillary has implausibly accused Hawaii congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard of being a Putin plant.

Since 2018, Trump has had some indisputable successes. Conservative Republicans might easily commend him for his originalist – not conservative -- Supreme Court appointments, and Democrats may have overplayed their hand with respect to Brett Kavanaugh, Blumenthal leading the charge to defame the Supreme Court Justice. After some important tax cuts and deregulation, the national economy appears to have responded as anticipated. Groups that usually huddle under the protective umbrella of Democrat programs – African Americans and Hispanics – cannot be too disappointed with their current low unemployment numbers.

In any case, 2020 will not be 2018. And, who knows, there may in Connecticut be some courageous Republicans bright enough to realize that silence in the face of an unjust criticism signifies assent. If you are silent in the face of a false accusation that you beat your wife, you should not be surprised when the public votes down the presumed wife beater and his associates. The aphorism that a false accusation may travel half way around the world while the truth is still getting its boots on simply means that propaganda works. Joseph Stalin, a suburb propagandist, used to say – give me Hollywood and I could rule the world.

At this remove, it may be impossible to imagine what would happen if Republicans in Connecticut were able to prevail upon Trump to hold a 2020 rally in, say, New Haven, Hartford, Bridgeport or some other urban Democrat Party reservation in super-blue Connecticut. Some think a Trump appearance in the state might be, at the very least, entertaining, and showmanship, as we all know, pulls in votes.

In the 2016 presidential race, Clinton beat Trump in Connecticut by only 5 percentage points, a poor showing in a state in which Democrats outnumber Republicans by a two to one margin. Trump toted up wins in Windham and Litchfield counties, losing to Clinton by only 2 percentage points in Middlesex. More importantly, Republicans in the General Assembly later drew even with Democrats in the Senate and came within striking distance in the House. Republican losses occurred when Trump was not on the ballot and the pending Mueller investigation hung perilously over his head in a non-presidential election, a propaganda triumph for Democrats.  

Despite strenuous efforts to repeal the 2016 election, Trump is not going anywhere. He will not be driven out of office by 1) an “impeachment inquiry” held behind closed doors that will permit partisan U.S. House Democrats to selectively mold campaign bullets from testimony given in secret by no less partisan “witnesses” to shoot at Republicans during the upcoming elections or 2) an open impeachment in the House requiring votes and testimony given by the accused that will certainly fail in the U.S.  Senate to remove Trump from office.

If – following an upcoming Inspector General’s report on a defective FISA application, and John Durham’s report on the prequel to the two year old Mueller report -- Trump does campaign in Connecticut, a state reeling from 30 years of Democrat hegemonic misrule in the General Assembly, who knows what mischief might be set afoot. Republicans who step from behind the flowerpots to defend the nominal head of their party from unjust assaults may even now be asking themselves– what have we got to lose?

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