he midterm winds are blowing hard, and they are carrying plenty of good news for the Republicans — on the economy, international trade, the Supreme Court and good old-fashioned trust.
The economy is booming! Unemployment is below four percent. Second-quarter annualized gross domestic product growth was four percent. And according to The Conference Board, small-business optimism is at an 18-year high.
“A record-low 12 percent of Americans currently cite some aspect of the economy as the most important problem facing the U.S., down from 17 percent last month,” according to a Gallup Poll released Sept. 17.
The good news continues: “55 percent of Americans say the economy is getting better, among the highest proportions saying this since 2004. A near-record-high 64 percent say now is a good time to find a quality job; workers remain upbeat about their job security; and employee engagement is at record highs.”
The recently announced United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement “has just revolutionized global trade by replacing NAFTA,” wrote Christian Whiton in an op-ed published Tuesday on the Fox News website. The agreement will aid farmers, reinvigorate U.S. car manufacturing and help reduce the cost of biologic drugs for Americans.
“It also serves as a new standard for trade agreements with other countries, especially its provisions to protect U.S. digital services and intellectual property — a big part of the future economy,” wrote Whiton, who served as a senior adviser in the Donald Trump and George W. Bush administrations and is currently a senior fellow for strategy and public diplomacy at the Center for the National Interest in Washington.
And that’s not all. “The new deal also shows that Trump will put aside political differences when it comes to protecting American jobs and profitability,” he continued. “The National Football League ... won big. The new agreement ends a practice by which Canada made NFL broadcasters show the same commercials in Canada that it did in the USA, precluding a major source of advertising revenue for the league.
“USMCA also ends the practice in the Canadian province of British Columbia of elevating the price of American wine imports, which will particularly help hyper-liberal wine-growing northern California. When it comes to defending American interests, Trump is the president of all America, not just his political supporters.”
While the economy is running in high gear and international trade is taking a positive track, the news that has taken over the most space is the current Supreme Court confirmation battle. It has fueled both sides of the political spectrum. The Democrats’ assumption of guilt and public harassment of Republican senators appear to be rabid resistance rather than rational resistance to the nominee. This may help galvanize the right and make those in the middle reluctant to encourage such tactics by Democrats.
Unexpectedly, according to a poll released by Gallup on Monday, “Americans’ trust and confidence in the legislative branch of the U.S. federal government is at its highest point in nine years, with 40 percent saying they have ‘a great deal’ or ‘a fair amount’ of trust in it.”
This is great news for the Republicans.
This “is solely the result of increased confidence from Republicans and Republican-leaning independents,” according to Gallup. “Rank-and-file Republicans’ faith in the legislative branch began to inch up in 2015, when Republicans became the majority party in both houses. Yet a much more significant change came in the latest reading, which saw a one-year, 11-point increase in trust to 49 percent — perhaps because Republicans in Congress have made progress in enacting the GOP agenda, most notably by passing income-tax cuts.”
Though President Trump has garnered more than his fair share of negative press, “trust in the executive branch in 2018 is similar to last year’s 45 percent,” Gallup says. And though many will point out that this is below half, “there have been other similar readings more recently, including three times under George W. Bush (2006-2008), and four times under Barack Obama (2010-2011 and 2014-2015).”
Because of the high performance of the economy, most Americans are feeling good about jobs and growth. Trump and the Republican-controlled Congress have delivered real results for the economy. Promises made, promises kept.
With one Supreme Court nominee confirmed shortly after his inauguration, Trump has kept his promise regarding court appointments. The current battle over Judge Brett Kavanaugh has whipped both sides into a frenzy. It will be interesting to see which side has the momentum to win the midterms.
My bet is on the Republicans — assuming voters can remember that they are better off now economically than they were. But I offer no guarantees; memories are often short, and improvements can be taken for granted.
JACKIE CUSHMAN writes a weekly column that focxuses on current events and political issues.