Fast forward one week with me: The 2018 midterm elections are (mostly) over. Democrats have regained the House majority for the first time since 2010. Republicans have narrowly held onto their Senate majority, adding a single seat.
President Donald Trump holds a news conference to talk about the results – and what they mean for him and his 2020 prospects. And he says this*:
“We always knew this was going to be a very tough election. Most presidents have lost huge numbers of seats in the House and Senate. When I first took office, many people said we would lose the House and Senate. And lose them badly. Many presidents have suffered far greater losses in their first midterm election. Remember that we held the Senate yesterday. Maybe if those guys in the House had stuck a little closer to me, we might have held the House too. So true. So, all in all, this election is far better than the fake news media and the so-called experts were saying. And we still have control of the Senate, so important, so we can keep appointing conservatives judges to the federal bench.”
*Yes, this is a thought experiment. We don’t know, exactly, what will happen on Tuesday night. Democrats could win the House and the Senate. Republicans could keep their majorities in both. But a split – Democratic House, Republican Senate – is, without question, the most likely scenario based on history and all the available polling data we have.
And if you have ANY doubt that Trump would throw House Republicans under the bus if/when they lose the majority, the President’s tweet Wednesday directed at outgoing House Speaker Paul Ryan following Ryan’s criticism of his birthright citizenship announcement should clear that up nicely. Trump tweeted:
“Paul Ryan should be focusing on holding the Majority rather than giving his opinions on Birthright Citizenship, something he knows nothing about! Our new Republican Majority will work on this, Closing the Immigration Loopholes and Securing our Border!”
Also remember that Trump is not someone who often takes blame – for, well, anything. (Remember him saying recently that even if Republicans get a shellacking this November, it won’t be his fault?) He’s also not someone who has experienced loss in the political context. He’s run one race and he won it. While his name isn’t on the ballot next week, there is no doubt that many people will blame Trump. And he won’t like it.
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Asked Wednesday by reporters, Trump said he won’t blame Ryan or “anybody” if Republicans lose the House. If you believe that, I have a hot company named Theranos you might be interested in.
The Point: This election – win or lose – will be a major moment for Trump’s presidency. And we all know how he reacts to bad news. (Not well.)