John L. Micek, 4/24/2017 [Archive]

100 Days In, Who's Winning Again?

100 Days In, Who's Winning Again?

By John L. Micek


Who's winning?

During last year's campaign, Donald Trump promised cheering throngs that they'd eventually be so tired of winning that they'd beg for a respite from all those victories.

But as President Trump's 100th day in office closes in this week, the Republican is woefully short of major legislative victories and time is running short.

And as a possible (if entirely avoidable) government shutdown looms, the White House is frantically pressing for wins on some of its key campaign promises.

That includes authorization of a border wall (which is running into resistance from Democrats and Republicans alike) and an Obamacare repeal vote, which House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., has said may not happen this week.

And there's still tax reform to go yet -- the broad outlines of which are expected to emerge Wednesday.

And, yes, there have been some bright spots: Trump got plaudits for a missile strike in Syria. And he did see the successful confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch.

And that's not to mention a series of executive orders and smaller pieces of legislation that have inflicted major damage on the regulatory state.

Yet, there was still bad news beyond Capitol Hill.

A Gallup poll released over the weekend showed Trump with the lowest approval rating of any modern president.

And while his base remains unshakable, a majority of Americans in that Gallup poll said they don't believe Trump keeps his promises. In fact, that metric plunged, from 62 percent in February to 45 percent in April.

But you know who is winning?

That'd be the self-styled "Resistance" that's driven the president so batty.

In the ruins of defeat, the left found its mojo. And it's run with with it.

From the Women's March in Washington in January, protests over the thwarted travel bans and packed Congressional town halls, to this weekend's March for Science, the White House's critics have emerged with some major wins as the first 100 days draws to a close.

And that's only a good thing for the Republic: Like it or not, a swath of the American electorate is engaged with their government in a real and tangible way. And it's getting results.

While Trump and his allies may dismiss them as "paid protesters" put to work by George Soros and others, this is still the kind of vigorous debate that we want out of our politics.

After all, it wasn't too long ago - in the wild, free-for-all days of 2010, that a similar group of self-styled rabble-rousers descended on Washington to demand change out of their government.

And, fueled by geysers of cash such astro-turf groups as the Dick Armey-headed FreedomWorks and the Koch Brothers-backed Americans for Prosperity, they got results.

The ascendancy of the Tea Party movement in 2009 marked a watershed moment in American politics: It inspired the Republican wave of 2010 that handed control over both chambers of Congress to the GOP.

And in the seven years since, thanks in no small part to the incompetence of national Democrats, they've consolidated their control.

But Trump's election last November was the moment when the pendulum began to swing in the opposite direction.

And it looked like the American left (which marginalizes the Trump base at its peril) got the one thing it had been looking for: A Tea Party movement to call its own.

Yet in major tests in Kansas and Georgia, the resistance hasn't shown that has the force to win elections - which is all that matters in the end.

But in two key metrics: Democrats have reason to take heart.

In Georgia, Democratic hopeful Jon Ossoff, who survived to compete in a June 20 run-off for the seat vacated by now Health Secretary Tom Price, took 48.1 percent of the vote.

That's 10 percentage points better than Rodney Stooksbury, who lost to Price by 23 percent (61.7-38.3 percent) in November. And Stooksbury did the best of any challenger since Price's election in 2004, USA Today reported.

In Kansas, where Trump defeated Hillary Clinton by 27 points, the Republican candidate in that state's special election prevailed by just 7 percentage points, as Fox News' Chad Pergram reported recently.

True, the GOP got the win in Kansas. And it will more than likely hang on in Georgia.

But the narrowness of the margins is enough to suggest that Republicans can't take the 2018 mid-terms for granted, even if Trump did rewrite the rule book in 2016.

Nor can the resistance rest on its well-earned laurels so far.

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© Copyright 2017 John L. Micek, distributed by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate.

An award-winning political journalist, Micek is the Opinion Editor and Political Columnist for PennLive/The Patriot-News in Harrisburg, Pa. Readers may follow him on Twitter @ByJohnLMicek and email him at jmicek@pennlive.com.

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