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From The New York Times, a devastating critique of where the President’s re-election chances stand now that the Democrats are more emboldened in Congress:
At midterm, the once-dazzling political momentum… has stalled. In the year ahead, the President faces what his allies and advisers see as the most critical tests of his Presidency both at home and abroad.
”Historically, the third year is the one that makes or breaks a Presidency,” said one GOP pollster.
”It’s the year when people will judge the President not only by the goals he articulated in the campaign or the legislation he has passed, but how his program has affected their lives,” he continued. ”It’s also a year in which foreign policy will be given a more severe test.”
On the major issues, some of the President’s White House aides and Cabinet associates see similar forks in the political road. They prefer not to be identified in speaking. But privately, some acknowledge their concern that his presidency faces serious difficulties.
Their brimming optimism of 2016 has been tempered by losses in the November elections as well as by stunning defeats in the recent session of Congress. They concede… a perceptible shift in power from the White House toward Congress since November, and open splits and uneasiness among Republicans, especially while there is uncertainty whether the President intends to run in 2020. On Capitol Hill, Republicans grumble that the White House is not being well run but is hobbled by factional tensions.
”If the President doesn’t like the word ‘compromise,’ ” one aide said, ”well then, let’s say he’s got to make some adjustments in the original course. There’s a problem with people who think there’s so much mileage in being right all the time, I don’t care who it is, even the President of the United States.”
”You can’t govern this country when it’s polarized,” said the Republican moderate Senator from Maine. ”I think the President has got to compromise on most issues…”
Political realities have changed dramatically since 2016. The loss of Republican seats in the House has buried the coalition that passed his big tax cuts and has given Democrats control of the House.
Beyond that, White House strategists acknowledge that the elections showed an erosion of public support; many minority, blue collar and elderly voters who supported him in his election went back to the Democratic Party.
They also concede that the election mood will affect the legislative debate. Some of the 19 Republican senators up for re-election are acutely sensitive to avoiding (associating with the President) as they approach the new Congressional session.
In sum, the President’s political impact has diminished. He is not the feared figure of 18 months ago.
In reality, this is from The Times in December of 1982. (Read the original here.) The President was Reagan, not Trump. All I did was mask a few names and change the dates. Trump is not Reagan, but the conventional wisdom is not necessarily wise either. The tires are stuck in the same mud they’ve always been in and they just spin and spin and spin.