President Trump is a pre-emptive scapegoater who thinks ahead when contemplating who to blame for things gone wrong. And he just got an important new bogeyman.
With Democrats winning the House of Representatives in this year’s midterm elections, half of Congress will be controlled by the party in opposition to Trump. They won’t be able to pass laws on their own, or override a Trump veto. But House Democrats will be a huge new presence in Washington, because Trump is likely to blame them for everything that doesn’t go his way.
Trump has already said Democrats will “destroy your Medicare,” impose “mob rule,” lead an “assault on our country by Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador,” and sell out patients with pre-existing conditions. Should Democrats ever gain real power, he warned, America will become a “socialist nightmare.”
You can see where this is going. Democrats = Bad. So if something bad happens, in Trump’s blame scheme, it must be the Democrats’ fault. And some things will go bad over the next two years. Expect to hear Trump blame Democrats for:
A slowing economy. Many economists think growth peaked in the second quarter of this year, when the economy grew 4.2%. Growth dropped to 3.5% in the third quarter and is tracking around 2.9% for the fourth quarter. It could be lower than that in 2019 and 2020, and some forecasters think a recession is brewing. What interesting timing: Just as the Democrats regain a toehold in Congress, the economy tanks. It can only mean one thing.
A stock-market correction. The market has rallied in the 12-month period following every single midterm election since 1945. That’s 18 times out of 18. But if the market breaks the pattern this time around, it’ll be because Democrats prefer losing to winning. There are plenty of real reasons stocks could fall, such as tighter monetary policy, shrinking profits or Trump’s own protectionist trade policies. Democrats are a much better foil.
Soaring deficits. The gap between federal spending and revenue will hit $1 trillion or more next year, an upward trend that began this year with the Trump tax cuts, which lowered federal revenue from corporate tax payments. But it’s really the Democrats’ fault, because they’ll stand in the way of additional tax cuts needed to stimulate the economy further and fill in the missing tax revenue. Or something like that.
Illegal immigration. Trump couldn’t get funding for the wall he wants to build on the southwest border when Republicans ran Congress, but that was because they figured they’d get to it next year. But now Democrats are in the way, and they’ve built a vast network of secret tunnels beneath the border to escort undocumented migrants straight from Mexico to your front lawn.
Divisive politics. Everybody was getting along just fine before the Democrats won the House. But now there are likely to be endless Democratic hearings into Trump’s real-estate conflicts of interest, his tax returns, his business practices before he became president, his grifty Cabinet appointees and of course his Russian connections. Just when peace was breaking out, Democrats declared war. It’s looking like another turbulent two years until the next election.
- Trump’s grade on the economy rises just before the midterms
- Trump is fibbing on pre-existing conditions
- What Trump doesn’t get about tax cuts
- The Trump White House blasts socialism
- The rich–poor gap is getting worse under Trump
- Some business owners love the Trump tariffs
Rick Newman is the author of four books, including “Rebounders: How Winners Pivot from Setback to Success.” Follow him on Twitter: @rickjnewman