GOP voters will spend Election Day on the couch with a bag of Cheetos and a fist full of Clint Eastwood movies unless they see problems being solved.
Looking over the remnants of the Virginia Republican Party after last month’s electoral devastation, pundits largely agreed on one thing. A backlash tsunami is coming for the GOP in 2018, and the seismic event that triggered the wave, like a colossal, gold-plated luxury hotel crashing into the sea, is Donald Trump.
The left’s eagerness to “resist” Trump showed in Virginia’s turnout figures and, although unlikely to be a factor in next week’s special Senate election in Alabama, could make winning elections in swing states and swing districts very challenging for Republicans in 2018. Trump’s low approval ratings are considered to be gathering clouds on the horizon, which raises a fun question. Which elected official in Washington has a worse job approval rating than President Trump?
The answer: All of them.
Trump had a 35% job approval rating in the latest Gallup poll, within a few points of his average in all polls. Republican congressional leaders look at those numbers like their fictional counterparts looked at the alien space ship descending on the White House in “Independence Day.” But Congress hasn’t had a job approval rating that high since May 2009.
Its current average approval rating is 13%, according to Real Clear Politics. In the last AP poll the week of the stunning Tea Party takeover of 2010, the congressional job approval rating was 26% — double what it is now.
So what? The job approval rating for Congress always smells like unwashed gym socks the dog’s been sleeping on for six months. When it fell to 9% in two polls last month, it wasn’t even news. A poll in October had it at 7%. It’s been so low for so long that everyone in Washington just ignores it.
And that’s a problem. The reassuring cliche is that Americans hate Congress, but they like their own member of Congress. But what if that isn’t exactly true? What if individual members keep getting elected because of gerrymandering, name recognition and the other advantages of incumbency? What…