For all for of the political punditry and political blogospheric chatter about Trump ascent to the Presidency and his governing style it can be summed up, simply, as divide and conquer. That’s what he did with the electorate: he divided the nation by emphasizing different polarizing issues and then conquered the White House. That’s what he’s done with social issues: he divided America with his commentary on Charlottesville (saying there were “some very fine people” marching on the side of the street with Nazis) and conquered extreme right-wing of America while disaffecting (um…frightening) the rest of us. He divided our public perception of the Fourth Estate with slanderous calls of “fake media” while conquering the cable news conversations.
It’s a very simple pattern.
Today ABC News reports that Republicans in Congress want the Republican in the White House to stop “bashing” them. He’s bashed their pace of judge approval. He’s bashed them for their chamber rules. He’s even bashed them for not bashing Robert Mueller. So it’s clear he’s working his divide and conquer strategy with Congress.
In this article, Senator Mike Rounds (R-SD) said “it would be very helpful with our base if rather than suggesting we weren’t doing anything, that he acknowledged what we are getting done.”
Because he’s afraid that the Republicans could lose Congress and he responds the only way he knows how: to divide and conquer. But will it work? Congressional elections are a much different animal that a presidential election. Congressional electorates are, largely, homogenous. As a result, there is not as much variation of thought inside of an individual district. In fact, within a congressional district there is commonality among predominant industry, religion, culture, and so on. And this commonality can be very different from one congressional district to another.
Will a divide and conquer strategy applied to Congress succeed in protecting – or gaining – Republican seats?
Nobody know now. But we’ll all know in November.
-Andrew Schoolnik 5/19/18