And what is the Democratic counter? Sure, they could argue that the GOP’s individual tax cuts are temporary. But Republicans would love that. House Speaker Paul Ryan has already said those cuts will never expire and dared Democrats to promise otherwise. Or maybe Democrats could make an argument about rising budget deficits or rising wealth inequality. But those are pretty abstract claims to compete against greater take-home pay.
Of course, the economy might sink back into slow-growth mode. And even if it does not, maybe President Trump’s behavior will make pocketbook issues irrelevant to enough voters to give Democrats a big political boost anyway. But Democrats have another problem. Not only did they argue that Trump was unfit for office because of his miserable character, they also argued his incompetence would ruin America. But Trump hasn’t nuked Pyongyang nor disbanded NATO. And the economy is motoring right along. As Richard Nixon supposedly said, “It would take a genius” to wreck the American economy. Despite Trump’s claim to possess a “very good brain,” he probably doesn’t qualify as a genius. He and the congressional GOP are just politicians who are lucky enough to be facing election at a good time in the up-and-down business cycle. And another year of more growth and more jobs might be enough to keep them in control of Washington.