Steve's Blog

Trump’s Trip, The Tax Vote, and What the Virginia Election Means

President Trump returned to Washington last night after an eventful trip to Southeast Asia. So how did it go? To the nattering nabobs of negativism (as the late Spiro Agnew once referred to the mainstream press), it was one embarrassment after another for this much-hated President. According to them, among other foibles, Trump chose his buddy Putin over our own intelligence agencies, sucked up to ruthless dictators like China’s President Xi and Philippines President Duterte, allowed himself to be photographed making awkward faces, and perhaps most damaging of all, didn’t properly feed some fish. How will our nation survive this presidency?

In reality, the President’s performance on the international scene over the past two weeks was fine. Despite the snarky sniping from much of the mainstream press, the President’s Asia tour accomplished a number of important things. He successfully firmed up relations with our key allies in the region, and at the same time demonstrated resolve in dealing with an ongoing headache – North Korea.

My one criticism (if you want to call it that) is this President’s (and his predecessors for that matter) ongoing obsequiousness with China – we are just too conciliatory with respect to Chinese leaders. They act like they’re our friends, and want to be oh-so-helpful, but continue to do little or nothing relative to North Korea. They continue to persecute peaceful groups in their own country like the Falon Gong, and they bully our allies, like Taiwan. And we nonetheless continue to shower them with effusive praise. I get tired of it.

Okay, next topic. The upcoming vote on the Republican tax bill. I’ve already discussed details of the tax bill in previous blogs, so I won’t go into specifics here, but suffice it to say that this really is a big deal (Joe Biden might have added an additional colorful adjective, but since this is a family blog, I’ll leave it there.) We have an opportunity to do something really important for the American people: lower their taxes, make it a lot easier to figure out what they owe, and improve the American economy, all at the same time. I hope and pray we don’t blow this chance, as happened with repealing Obamacare.

The House is set to act tomorrow – assuming we have the votes lined up to move forward. I’m pretty optimistic that we’ll have the votes, although it’s always possible the vote could be delayed a day or so for last minute arm-twisting. I’m less optimistic about the Senate. Republicans can only lose two votes over there and still pass the bill. And after their embarrassing failure to pass the Obamacare repeal, I’m not holding my breath. But maybe they’ll finally rustle up the courage to do something important. We’ll see.

And finally, what the heck happened in Virginia last week? To put it plainly – Republicans got clobbered. Even though most of the polls taken before the election were showing the Democrat gubernatorial candidate Ralph Northam beating Republican Ed Gillespie, when it actually happened, a lot of people were shocked. More significant were the dozen or so statehouse seats below the governor’s race that went from R to D. In my view, that’s the real sign that something’s up.

The mainstream press’s take on what was up is that Ed Gillespie ran a racist, anti-immigrant, negative campaign that was rejected by the voters of Virginia. They of course ignore the fact that it was Democrats who ran the most negative, misleading, despicable attack ad of the campaign cycle, in which they portrayed minority children being chased down by a Gillespie/confederate/tea party/Republican pickup truck.

In my opinion it wasn’t the ads in Virginia that made the difference – it was the turnout. The Left is energized – the Right is not. Hillary Clinton beat Donald Trump in Virginia by 5 points last year. Last week the Democrat candidate for Governor beat the Republican candidate for Governor by 9.

Here’s what I think happened. After unexpectedly losing to Donald Trump last year, The Left was depressed, despondent. Now they’re angry and energized. The Right on the other hand, was happy Trump won. Now they’re angry and disgruntled that Republicans haven’t accomplished more with control of the House, the Senate, and the Presidency. So Democrat turnout was up, and Republican turnout was not. They won, we lost.

The question of course is whether these conditions will carry over to the midterm elections next November. Only time will tell. Fortunately, there still is time.

If you enjoyed this post, please consider sharing it!