President Donald Trump speaks during a bilateral meeting with Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, Sunday, May 21, 2017, in Riyadh. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

A Republican Bloodbath is Coming Unless the GOP Embraces the Ed Rollins Strategy

I submitted an op-ed to the Washington Post and hope you will consider reading it.

The point that needs to be made is that the Democrats lost 1000 seats at the state and federal level with Barack Obama’s personal popularity averaging 49 to 51%. How many more seats will Donald Trump cause the GOP to lose with his popularity south of Obama’s?

The best defense of the President that anyone can give is the one his advisors will make in private but would get fired for uttering in public. The President is an idiot who simply does not know any better. He is out of his league and overwhelmed.

Barack Obama, with a Democrat Congress, was able to get the Affordable Care Act passed. Donald Trump, with a Republican Congress, cannot even get a freaking wall built that Congress has already authorized in a bipartisan fashion.

Republicans are going to be in a world of hurt. As I note in the Post,

A Republican reckoning is on the horizon. Voters are increasingly dissatisfied with a Republican Party unable to govern. And congressional Republicans increasingly find themselves in an impossible position: If they support the president, many Americans will believe they are neglecting their duty to hold him accountable. But if they do their duty, Trump’s core supporters will attack them as betrayers — and then run primary candidates against them.

The GOP needs to study the Ed Rollins strategy from 1990 carefully. That was the midterm election during the administration of George H. W. Bush and Ed Rollins headed the National Republican Congressional Committee. Bush had just broken his no new tax pledge and was deeply unpopular at the time with his base. The party in control of the White House averaged losses of 29 seats, and with Bush’s unpopularity, Ed Rollins knew a reckoning was coming.

So Rollins encouraged Republicans to put distance between themselves and President Bush. The GOP candidates ran ads announcing their disagreements with President Bush’s broken promise. They noted it was Democrats who helped Bush raise taxes. They would not invite Bush on the campaign trail.

The result? The GOP defied historical averages and only lost nine seats in the House and 1 in the Senate. In the gubernatorial races, whose candidates followed the House GOP’s strategy, the Republicans lost one seat, but to a third party instead of the Democrats.

History, of course, has a funny way of turning things around. Shortly after the 1990 election, the Gulf War started, and by January of 1991, George H. W. Bush achieved a popularity rating of around 90% — something arguably not seen since George Washington. He demanded the NRCC toss Ed Rollins, or he would not campaign for congressional Republicans.

Of course, then the recession hit.

In any event, if the GOP does not stage an intervention and get the President’s head in the game, they need to be prepared to part ways with him to save themselves.

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Erick Erickson

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