Downplaying a good economy in favor of an appeal to the base on borders breaks all the rules.
Last Friday’s jobs report was just the latest in a series of statistics that allow Republicans to boast of a booming economy. The unemployment rate is at a 50-year low. Hiring is up. Wages are up. And growth is at a robust rate that few thought possible a few years ago as President Barack Obama presided over an anemic post-recession economy.
Under normal circumstances, such good economic news would be the centerpiece of any incumbent party’s midterm-election campaign. But that’s not the case for Republicans in 2018.
Some GOP candidates are talking about the importance of not allowing a Democratic Congress to get in the way of an administration whose tax cuts and, even more important, regulatory-reform policies have fueled the economic upturn. But in a political environment whose tone is set by President Donald Trump, the White House’s decision to use illegal immigration as the Republicans’ closing argument is drowning such voices out. That sets up many to ponder whether any losses on Tuesday will be the fault of the president’s decision rather than their own shortcomings or the historic problems that midterms pose for parties in power.