Credit: Maryland GovPics

Amy Walter makes a good point:

By now we are all familiar with the GOP formula in competitive House races. Take the Democratic candidate. Put his or her picture next to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi in a TV ad. Warn voters that the Democratic candidate shares Pelosi’s “San Francisco values” and will be a foot solider in Pelosi’s liberal army if he or she gets to Washington. Rinse. Repeat.

What we didn’t expect earlier this year, however, was that Democrats would make Republican leaders in Congress their own political boogeymen—their own Pelosi if you will. Past Democratic attempts to turn Speaker Paul Ryan into a political pariah by attacking the “Ryan budget” fell flat. This year, however, Democrats have a new ally in their battle to turn the GOP leadership into a political liability for GOP candidates: President Donald J. Trump. The more Trump fights with his own party, the more unpopular these members become.

Trump has his own reasons for trashing congressional Republicans, some of which make a lot of sense. But he’s going to have a hard time pivoting next fall and trying to convince his supporters of the importance of going to the polls to support the candidates he’s been excoriating.

There will also be some Republican candidates who having survived primary challenges from the Bannonite right will be even harder for Trump to plausible endorse.

There will still be a case to make that the president will be able to accomplish more (or, at least something) with bigger majorities, and maybe his supporters will conclude they need to show up to protect him from impeachment if the Democrats retake one or both chambers of Congress. But, overall, Trump is clearly functioning right now as an agent of voter suppression from his own base.

The Democrats will eagerly accept this gift.

Martin Longman

Martin Longman is the web editor for the Washington Monthly. See all his writing at