Liberal dreams are rising from the latest intra-GOP spats.
On Tuesday, Senator Jeff Flake unloaded on Trump while announcing his decision to quit the Senate at the end of his term. Senator Bob Corker, who is also not running for re-election, also criticized Trump in stark terms Tuesday.
Meanwhile, Steve Bannon and his cohort are threatening even quiet Senators like John Barrosso, Deb Fischer, and Roger Wicker.
All these intra-party fights are disquieting to many Republicans. Particularly for the GOP Congressional members, the fights threaten the Trump-GOP legislative agenda.
Liberal Dreams of Derailing GOP legislative Agenda
Republicans have a slim majority of two seats in the Senate. At the beginning of Trump’s term, it seemed like that would be enough to ram through the Trump-GOP legislative agenda.
Sadly — for Trump and the GOP — the Senate has been unable to push through some signature items.
Tax cuts for the wealthy and business are standard mantras for the GOP and Trump. With deficit hawks like Flake and Corker emboldened by their decisions not to run again, these cuts are in danger.
True, the GOP has been able to get many less-prominent items enacted. Chief among these are rules and regulations on business.
For example, the Senate Tuesday narrowly thwarted a rule that gave consumers the right to use class-action lawsuits against banks and credit card companies.
Liberal Dreams of Wresting Senate Control
Apart from liberal anger against Trump and the GOP, liberals can also dream that the retirements and intra-GOP fighting can flip the Senate back to them.
In Arizona, Flake’s retirement means that the Senate seat will be even more of a toss-up than before. There will probably be a bloody primary between Bannon’s candidate and more establishment GOP candidates.
In the end, the liberal dreams of wresting Senate control must contend with realities on the ground. Democrats need to defend 25 Senate seats, and Republicans only nine.
Liberal Dreams of House Control
Democratic legislative control of the Senate would be great for blocking Trump. But a House GOP majority could still create problems.
Currently, Republicans have a 237-193 majority in the House. But this is in danger due to three factors.
First, President Trump’s approval ratings are low. In midterm elections this factor can be devastating.
Second, the GOP establishment’s nemesis Steve Bannon has also begun to take an interest in ousting House incumbents. Third, two Republican House members have resigned already, and seven have announced they are retiring.
At least a few of these GOP retirements are in competitive districts. Coupled with high motivation and enough money, there could be a Democratic 2018 wave.
Still, incumbency and Republican efforts at voter suppression might thwart these liberal dreams.