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Here's the absolute best-case scenario for Republicans in 2018

With 182 days left before the 2018 election, ...

Posted: May 8, 2018 4:22 PM
Updated: May 8, 2018 4:22 PM

With 182 days left before the 2018 election, all signs are pointing to a Democratic wave. The main question at this point seems to be not whether a wave is happening but rather how big the wave will be -- and if it will knock Republicans out of not just their House majority but their Senate one, too.

And, to be clear, a wave -- of indeterminate size -- remains the most likely outcome.

But new national polling from CNN does provide a glimmer of hope for panicky Republicans. Or, more accurately, it shows a possible path by which disaster might be avoided at the ballot box this fall.

Here's how.

First of all, Trump's job approval numbers are steady but low. Forty one percent of people approve of the job he's doing while 53% disapprove in the new CNN-SSRS survey. Those numbers are statistically similar to where Trump was in March when he had a 42% approve/54% disapprove score.

At the same time that Trump continues to get broadly poor reviews for his performance in office, the mood of the country is lifting dramatically. Almost 6 in 10 people said that things are going "very" (12%) or fairly" (45%) well while 40% said they are going badly. That's a considerable bump upwards from last October, when 46% said things were going well and 51% said they were not going well.

Those two sets of numbers seem entirely contradictory. Almost always in political history, the more optimistic people feel about the direction of the country, the better a president's marks are. The reverse is also true; a president's ratings are usually poor when people don't feel great about the country.

So, what gives?

Here's a theory: People, broadly, speaking, don't connect Trump all that closely to the party with which he ostensibly belongs. Under this line of thinking, Trump is like an island, floating in the political sea. He is unmoored from the two traditional landmasses of the Democratic and Republican party. He is simply Trump.

What that means is that Trump is unable to transfer his political appeal to other candidates -- like, say, Rick Saccone in the Pennsylvania special election or Roy Moore in the Alabama Senate race.

But the other side of that coin is that Trump's drag on downballot Republicans this fall may be less worse -- it ain't going to be good! -- than it might be with a different president who was more closely aligned with a party.

The blueprint for congressional GOPers suggested by the CNN poll goes like this: I don't support Trump's bullying, his tweeting and his popping off. But, I sure as heck support the results for the country -- a growing economy and an unemployment rate under 4% for the first time in almost two decades.

If you like what Republicans are doing on the economy, vote for them. Trump is Trump and always will be. But the Republican Party is not Trump.

As I noted above, I don't think this is the most likely outcome this fall. If history is any guide, midterm elections are a referendum on the president. And when that president is under 50% approval -- as Trump is now -- the seat losses are massive (Try 36 seats -- on average.)

But, but, but -- Donald Trump has been the exception to every political rule. He did almost everything wrong -- by traditional measures -- and still won. Leave open the possibility then that as the election draws closer, the discussion is more about the state of the country than Trump.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 703345

Reported Deaths: 13194
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion959691716
Lake51222940
Allen38926670
Hamilton34288404
St. Joseph33770539
Elkhart27117431
Vanderburgh22034393
Tippecanoe21671212
Johnson17451374
Porter17206297
Hendricks16735310
Clark12657190
Madison12302337
Vigo12155244
Monroe11385166
LaPorte10800204
Delaware10312184
Howard9617211
Kosciusko9068113
Hancock7939139
Bartholomew7854153
Warrick7675155
Floyd7542176
Wayne6880198
Grant6773170
Boone6524100
Morgan6370138
Dubois6071117
Marshall5753108
Dearborn568075
Cass5671102
Henry5563100
Noble537983
Jackson492369
Shelby477795
Lawrence4332118
Gibson427389
Harrison426570
Montgomery416486
Clinton416053
DeKalb406684
Huntington376980
Whitley375539
Miami371465
Knox365389
Steuben362657
Putnam351960
Wabash346677
Jasper346146
Adams337652
Ripley333368
Jefferson311579
White307354
Daviess288899
Wells285180
Decatur278592
Fayette277062
Greene270385
Posey268333
Scott260553
Clay252244
LaGrange251470
Randolph234480
Washington230431
Spencer227431
Jennings224647
Fountain207745
Sullivan207342
Starke201952
Owen191856
Fulton190839
Carroll185620
Jay185529
Perry179536
Orange176553
Rush170324
Vermillion165743
Franklin165435
Tipton160943
Parke143816
Blackford132831
Pike130134
Pulaski113145
Newton102934
Brown99640
Crawford97014
Benton96213
Martin82415
Warren78915
Switzerland7698
Union69610
Ohio55511
Unassigned0405

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1048109

Reported Deaths: 18917
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1217031352
Cuyahoga1063982060
Hamilton779451165
Montgomery49883989
Summit45144907
Lucas39826760
Butler37638568
Stark31348894
Lorain24090472
Warren23835291
Mahoning20822583
Lake19915362
Clermont19397228
Delaware17972130
Licking16089206
Fairfield15646196
Trumbull15521459
Medina14815259
Greene14613236
Clark13576288
Wood12709184
Portage12313194
Allen11303229
Richland11017198
Miami10511212
Muskingum8688127
Wayne8543209
Columbiana8527226
Pickaway8421120
Marion8360135
Tuscarawas8359239
Erie7540153
Ross6692145
Hancock6683123
Geauga6527146
Ashtabula6458164
Scioto6280100
Belmont5591158
Union556247
Lawrence5458102
Jefferson5283147
Huron5270113
Darke5264121
Sandusky5164119
Seneca5093118
Washington5074107
Athens499454
Auglaize474884
Mercer470384
Shelby455089
Knox4371108
Madison421058
Putnam420298
Ashland412086
Fulton407966
Defiance399996
Crawford3858100
Brown385555
Logan372276
Preble369598
Clinton359659
Ottawa355478
Highland346059
Williams323274
Champaign318556
Jackson306951
Guernsey305848
Perry289349
Fayette276948
Morrow274439
Hardin263563
Henry263166
Coshocton258257
Holmes252699
Van Wert238662
Gallia233246
Pike232431
Adams227552
Wyandot226353
Hocking208958
Carroll188947
Paulding168538
Meigs141438
Noble132737
Monroe128841
Morgan106423
Harrison105336
Vinton81414
Unassigned02
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Angola
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Huntington
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Fort Wayne
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Temperatures start to climb back up on Friday as we'll see mostly sunny skies return to northeast Indiana and northwest Ohio.
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