After every presidential election, there are often a host of special elections across the country to fill vacancies created when a member of Congress accepts an appointment by the new president to serve in the new administration. Typically, these vacancies are filled by a member of the same party as the president.
Under normal circumstances, this is a fairly routine process for the party of the occupant in the White House, but in the age of Donald Trump, there’s no such thing as normal.
In the first of four special elections scheduled to take place this year, the seat previously held by Rep. Mike Pompeo in the Fourth Congressional District of Kansas was barely retained for the GOP by conservative Ron Estes on Tuesday. Despite this win, this election portends rough days ahead for Republicans and Conservatives.
While the media tries to spin this victory into a loss, establishment Republicans—or Trumplicans if you prefer—are using the outcome as a way to blame conservatives for the inability of the GOP establishment to get things done in Washington. In reality, it is an indication of Trump’s weakness as the leader of the Republican party and how he could cost the party its majority in 2018.
Estes underperformed Trump's margin by 20.3 points. If every district behaved like that, Dems would gain 122 (!) House seats next November. https://t.co/4H9AjAhF84
— Nate Silver (@NateSilver538) April 12, 2017
This election took place during Trump’s first 100 days—typically called the honeymoon period—in a district where he beat Hillary by 26 points. In addition:
- Kansas’ District 4 is one of the most Republican districts in the country
- Romney won it with 62% of the vote in 2012.
- Trump won it with 60% of the vote in 2016.
- Pompeo won his re-election in November by 31 points.
This shouldn’t have even been close, yet Estes only won by a 7% margin, not to mention that he lost the most populous county around Wichita to his Democrat opponent—a county Trump won by 18 points.
Trump’s approval numbers, while up slightly since Ivanka decided to bomb Syria, remain near historic lows. And when you add the low approval rating of the GOP to the mix, it’s clear to see why this election was so close and why the GOP will have a tougher fight in 2018 than they should.
But don’t worry, Trump and his buddies Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan will have their “blame the conservatives” card ready to play.
David Leach is the owner of The Strident Conservative, your source for opinion that’s politically incorrect and always “right.” His articles are also featured on RedState.com.
His daily radio commentary is nationally syndicated with Salem Radio Network and can be heard on stations across America.