"They keep talking about this blue wave," said the president in June to a North Dakota horde of rallying supporters. "Their blue wave is really sputtering pretty badly. The red wave is happening."
As is customary with Trump, there was not then, nor is there now, so much as a smidgen of evidence for his contrarian assessment. In four special elections in which he had endorsed, three of his Republican candidates went down. (The lone survivor was Georgia's Karen Handel, who defeated Democrat Jon Ossoff.) In fact, "In each case except Handel," observes the Washington Post's Philip Bump, "the Republican candidate fared far worse against the Democratic candidate than Trump himself had done in 2016."
And all that was with a bubbling economy. Yet now comes former Treasury secretary Lawrence Summers, warning that "Some combination of gathering foreign storm clouds, the end of growing fiscal stimulus and the delayed effect of tightening monetary policies may converge to slow or end the expansion."
Adds Summers: "The president has taken credit for far more economic success than he deserves. He will disproportionately be blamed when the downturn comes." And it will come, as every perpetually gloomy economist knows.
Imagine, as did John Lennon; imagine that the inevitable downturn commences in this year's third quarter, which ends one month before the midterms in November. The rest requires no imagination. Trump's beleaguered party would fare even worse than a mere one out of four.
As the cliché goes, Trump has defied political gravity since virtually his candidacy's announcement. But sooner or later he'll fall to earth. Blue waves will then become tsunamis — and whatever magical spell this president has over the rank and file will be broken.