This week’s White House Report Card finds President Trump still riding high after the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court and buoyed by reports that Democrats have not locked down control of the House.
Democratic pollster John Zogby, who gave the president a B+ in this week’s report card, said that it is “nearly impossible” for the Democrats to win the Senate. And worse, he said that winning the House remains “elusive” despite predictions that a “blue wave” will give the Democrats a nice majority cushion.
Conservative weekly report card grader Jed Babbin, who gave Trump an A for the week, added, “The president and his family are expected to be out on the campaign trail from now until Election Day. The best news for Republicans is that Bill and Hillary Clinton will be out there too.”
This week we saw a revived Republican Party, re-energized with less than a month to go before the election. The stock market belched mid-week but picked up lost ground on Friday. Interest rates are going up, and President Trump mocked the chair of the Federal Reserve — but that is what Trump does for a living, and his followers are happy and feel secure.
From the vantage point of today it looks bleak — nearly impossible — for the Democrats to win a majority in the Senate.
PROMISES MADE, PROMISES KEPT! https://t.co/2lk8Fjspe4— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 12, 2018
Meanwhile, it is far from certain that the Democrats will indeed retake control of House of Representatives. Three seats that the Democrats have been counting on to pick up — New York 27, California 50, and Florida 27 — are elusive and too close to call.The first two feature GOP incumbents who have been indicted (Reps. Chris Collins and Duncan Hunter), while the third involves a Democratic icon Donna Shalala.
And for those of us who live in competitive congressional districts, we are begging for the return of TV ads for automobile deals and furniture blowout sales. The president presided over a weird visit by Kanye West, but it didn't seem to hurt him. Another good week, I guess.
President Trump had a terrific week, beginning with the confirmation and swearing-in of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh and ending with the release of Pastor Andrew Brunson who had been held hostage in Turkey for two years.
Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the high court puts in place a passable conservative majority that will last at least until the next resignation — Clarence Thomas is 70, but Ruth Bader Ginsburg is 85.
The other big news of the week was the sudden announcement that U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley will quit her post in December. Haley, a former South Carolina governor, is one of the brightest stars in the administration. Getting a good replacement for her was made much harder by the travesty of the Kavanaugh confirmation hearings. Few good people are going to want to experience that sort of horror show.
The president’s indication to approve year-round 15 percent ethanol content for gasoline is a terrible decision. Though ethanol burns hotter than gasoline, it also causes seals and gaskets to erode quickly. The 15 percent ethanol decision will damage cars and trucks across the nation.
The White House announced separate coming summits with both North Korea’s Kim Jong Un (“as soon as possible”) and with China’s Xi Jinping (probably in November). Both represent opportunities for progress, but only slim ones.
October 12, 2018
The Friday announcement of Pastor Brunson’s release by the Erdogan regime was a huge win for the president. Brunson had been imprisoned on laughable charges of terrorism and espionage. Turkish President Erdogan made it clear that Brunson was being held hostage over Turkey’s demand that Fethullah Gulen, a Turkish cleric based in Pennsylvania, be turned over. Erdogan blamed the 2016 failed coup against his authoritarian regime on Gulen.
Trump and Vice President Pence had both been working hard for Brunson’s release. Trump had imposed tariffs and sanctions on the Turkish economy as well as sanctioning two Turkish government ministers personally. The Turkish economy is in shambles thanks to Trump’s economic offensive. By releasing Brunson, Erdogan caved in to Trump’s demands. Some of Trump’s recent sanctions on Turkey will be removed in return for his release.
The president and his family are expected to be out on the campaign trail from now until Election Day. The best news for Republicans is that Bill and Hillary will be out there too.
John Zogby is the founder of the Zogby Poll and senior partner at John Zogby Strategies. His latest book is We are Many, We are One: Neo-Tribes and Tribal Analytics in 21st Century America. Follow him on Twitter @TheJohnZogby
Jed Babbin is an Examiner contributor and former deputy undersecretary of defense in administration of former President George H.W. Bush. Follow him on Twitter @jedbabbin