- - Wednesday, October 17, 2018

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

The midterms are 2 1/2 weeks away and no other political topic matters right now.

Therefore, I have decided to write about the 2020 election.

Let me explain.

Control of the House is up in the air. Democrats are more likely than not going to win a majority, but the outcome is still in doubt.

President Trump will be far more successful in the next two years if he can again work with Congressional Republicans to advance his legislative agenda.

I can envision new trade agreements being ratified, the tax cuts being made permanent, a repeal and replacement of Obamacare (with the pre-existing condition provision protected), increased spending on border security, and reduced federal spending beginning in fiscal 2019. That is an agenda that should excite every Republican.

And if that were to happen, it would give Mr. Trump a very strong hand in his bid for re-election.

However, a different scenario might be more painful in the short term, but more advantageous in the long term.

To be a successful president, you must be re-elected. The popular support that comes with re-election gives you a strong mandate and ensures your place in history.

Should Democrats take over the House, the Trump White House will face certain misery — nonstop investigations aided by subpoena power; articles of impeachment considered and passed on the House floor; his senior staff and Cabinet under fire and racking up expensive legal bills.

While the Democratic base will be thrilled, the country will not be served by such a circus.

Meanwhile, Democrats are sure to overreach on their legislative agenda.

In that scenario, expected House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will again lead her caucus off a cliff by pushing socialized medicine in some form, raising taxes, and giving in to her most liberal members.

These steps will harm the economy. Washington, D.C. will be even more dysfunctional than it is today. The country’s most significant challenges will not be met. Mr. Trump will be at war with the House.

While being very bad for the country, this scenario would strongly benefit the political future of Mr. Trump.

A contrast between Mr. Trump and Mrs. Pelosi significantly advantages him, because he needs a clearly defined opponent.

He showed that he can defeat opponents in the primary and general election, but in the early months of his administration he did not have a clear opponent.

In January, should Democrats take the House, he will have one.

Mrs. Pelosi is the gift that keeps on giving for Republicans. Her national poll numbers are upside down and she puts her foot in her mouth every time she opens it. Her liberal agenda and San Francisco values are not supported by a majority of Americans, only about 30 percent.

Do I think Mr. Trump can be re-elected? Absolutely.

The Democratic Party is in full meltdown as its rabid left-wing base controls its every move. Their presidential primary is going to be unruly, with as many as 25 candidates running. And while they will nominate a progressive, their bench is weak.

Mr. Trump will be more successful if Republicans hold the House and he can enjoy the next two years with the GOP controlling Capitol Hill.

But he may be better positioned to win re-election if “Leader Pelosi” becomes “Speaker Pelosi.”

• Matt Mackowiak is president of Austin, Texas, and Washington, D.C.-based Potomac Strategy Group. He’s a Republican consultant, a Bush administration and Bush-Cheney re-election campaign veteran and former press secretary to two U.S. senators.


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