Narration: The midterms are a referendum on President Trump. Has he delivered what he promised?
Candace Owens: There was some valid concern and apprehension in the beginning, but that’s sort of shifted because he’s been effective, and he’s actually gotten the job done.
Narration: What turned the blue wave into a blue puddle?
Shawn Steel: What hurt the Democrats, particularly, is the Kavanaugh hearings for the Supreme Court of the United States. Democrats got so nasty, foul, unfair, and vicious, it turned an awful lot of average people.
Narration: Will Democrats get enough seats in California to retake the House?
Shawn Steel: Today, I would say they will win one for sure, and three are undecided. So they’re not going to get enough from California to conquer the House.
Title: Midterms: Blue Wave Dwindles, House Still in Play
Simone: Welcome to “Zooming In,” I’m Simone Gao. Midterms are a referendum on the sitting president. Then, how is President Trump doing? In February 2018, Time Magazine had an article titled “President Trump Ranks Last in ‘Presidential Greatness,’” according to historians. President Obama, on the other hand, jumped up ten places in rank since 2014. However, during Obama’s first term, his party lost 63 seats in Congress during the midterms. The estimated loss for Trump’s party is around half of that or even less. The mainstream media’s coverage of Trump is 92 percent negative, but American citizens’ confidence in the economy more than doubled that of the Obama era. The elite got 2016 wrong. Will they get 2018 right? The American people are eager to speak again. What is their message? Let’s explore these questions in this episode of “Zooming In.”
Part 1: Midterms: A Trump Referendum
Narration: President Donald Trump’s contract with the American voter set out to clean up government corruption, protect American workers, and restore constitutional rule of law within the first 100 days.
Narration: He also promised to curb illegal immigration, raise GDP growth, negotiate trade deals, repeal Obamacare, reduce taxes, and take a different approach to foreign policy.
Narration: President Trump kept many of those promises.
Narration: On the economic front, in 2018, second quarter GDP growth rate peaked at 4.2 percent, the third quarter is at 3.5 percent. 4 million jobs have been created since the election. The jobless claim rate is at its lowest level in nearly five decades.
Narration: The Trump administration accomplished the third largest tax cut in U.S. history. U.S. corporate tax rate was one of the highest in the world at 35 percent. The tax cut reduced corporate tax to 21 percent.
Narration: Regarding trade deals, under Trump’s leadership, the U.S. withdrew from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, replaced the NAFTA with the new US-Canada-Mexico trade agreement, and struck an agreement to work with the European Union towards a zero tariff and zero subsidy trade environment. At the same time, the ongoing trade war with China imposed 25 percent tariffs on $50 billion of Chinese imports and an additional 10 percent tariff on $200 billion of imports.
Narration: The booming U.S. economy appears to be reducing dependence on federal health insurance for the poor.
Narration: Medicaid enrollment fell for the first time since 2007, declining by about 0.6 percent in fiscal year 2018. States don’t expect to see much growth in enrollment next year, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation report released Thursday.
Narration: But has he done enough to convince Americans to vote Republican on Nov. 6?
Narration: At the midterm election preview by The Washington Post on Oct. 25, Cook Political Report editor Amy Walter said Americans remain divided.
Amy Walter: I think the best way to think about where we are today is that we’re having elections in two different Americas. There’s an America where Trump’s really popular, and a lot of those states are states where the Senate battleground is taking place. Control of the Senate runs through places like Indiana and Missouri and North Dakota and West Virginia. All of those, of course, are held by Democrats, so they have to hold onto all of those. Even the places where they need to pick up some seats if they want to either gain, or in this case, I think the best case scenario is for Republicans not to—I mean, for Democrats not to lose seats, they have to win in places like Tennessee and Texas, also where the president’s popular. So that’s the Senate map, where the president’s popular. Where the president’s unpopular is in suburban America, especially among white, college-educated women, and that’s where the House map—that’s where battle for control of the House goes through a lot of those districts, suburban Chicago, suburban Denver, suburban Dallas, Northern Virginia. And so it feels more and more like we’re going to end up with an election night that everybody gets something they want. It’s like a soccer game. Everybody gets a trophy. Everybody wins. But the country remains as polarized and divided today as it was the day after the 2016 election, where there’s going to be a big chunk of Americans who say we like where the country’s going. We like the president. We’re going to support him. And they will have their victories, and a whole part of the country that says, we don’t like the president, we don’t like what he stands for, and those victories will take place in the House. So you have a House that’s blue and a Senate that gets maybe a little more red, or at least stays red, and we’re back kind of where we started.
Narration: The Republican Party was also divided over President Trump when he won in 2016. At the midterm election preview, Turning Point USA Communications Director Candace Owens said Republicans are now supportive of the president.
Candace Owens: I actually think that the Republican Party is at long-last coming together, and they’re fighting. Obviously, in the beginning…
Moderator: Coming together around Trump?
Candace Owens: Yes, for sure. They’re coming together around Trump. I think in the beginning there was a lot of apprehension. He’s a president that we’ve—the sort of president we’ve never seen before in this country. I think that because of that there was some valid concern and apprehension in the beginning, but that’s sort of shifted because he’s been effective and he’s actually gotten the job done. And now we’re talking about differences stylistically. You’ll hear amongst people, oh, I wish he wouldn’t tweet. And I always counter that with, tweeting is why he’s in the White House. He understood how to play an entirely different game. He really is the social media president. And he sort of went around the press to get out the story directly to the people that were following him. So I’m actually seeing people rally him. And I specifically saw this—and I’m so impressed—with the Brett Kavanaugh hearing. Typically, as soon as they come up with an allegation, I think any other president would have said, okay, we’re dismissing this nominee and we’re going to have somebody else. And he fought, and he stood by them. And then we saw people like Lindsey Graham, who was not traditionally behind this president, and he’s, “Boy, you guys want power, and I hope you never get it.” And we saw something here where it seems like they’re finally understanding what the stakes are and—eally, forgive me, obviously we have a diverse crowd here, but I think the left, and I separate the left from liberals. I have a family full of liberals. The left is fighting with extremely dirty tactics, and they want to obstruct this presidency at any regard. And I think the Republican Party is waking up to that. And I think that they are standing behind this president.
Narration: Coming up: Pipe bombs, caravans and the mainstream media: How will they impact the midterms?
Part 2: The Blue Wave Dwindles
Simone Gao: For another perspective, I spoke with Shawn Steel, Republican National Committeeman from California.
Simone Gao: Can you tell me your overall assessment of the race right now? How likely do you think the Democrats will take the House? And what about the Senate?
Shawn Steel: Well, let’s start off with the good news. The U.S. Senate is going to have some big surprises with old-line, phony Democrats losing their seats. And we’re expecting maybe a loss of one seat but a pickup of five. So that’s a net gain of four. So we’re going to go from 51 senators to 55. That’s a big, big number, and much better people. We had troubles through the summer, but the Kavanaugh hearings, the talk about impeachment, and the roaring economy are the big three factors that’s helping us in middle America, particularly in the middle west. So that’s good news. The House is more problematic. We have 435 House seats in America. They’re all up for election. And there’s been a tremendous amount of hatred from mainstream media against Trump. They never wanted Trump to win. They never expected Trump would win. And now that he’s president and been extremely effective, they’re just losing their minds. For example, today the New York Times—today the New York Times published an article fantasizing about assassinating President Trump. With this age of violence and bombs or fake bombs, civility, the New York Times is no longer a journalistic publication. It is a violent propaganda piece. That means a lot of people are confused. The Democrats have to win 23 seats to control the House. If I had to bet, they might control it, they might get it, but it’s only going to be by less than 10 votes. Every seat that I see that’s up for contest, all the ones that are at risk for Republicans, it’s plus or minus three points. So it’s going to be just a feather toss or something very strange could change the elections. Republicans probably have a 40 percent chance—and I’m being candid—of winning the House. But the Democrats, if they win, it’s not going to win it by very much. And so it won’t give them that much power.
Simone Gao: Just a few weeks ago, the mainstream media reported that there seems to be a big blue wave coming, so they’re predicting the Democrats not only are gonna take the House, but possibly the Senate as well. But now that big blue wave seems to have gone. What happened?
Shawn Steel: Remember, most of American media, most of American entertainment, most of the high-tech community is decidedly to the left, essential anti-middle class, anti-middle American. So their hope was, historically, a new president always loses power in the first Congress in the first midterm. That’s been true for almost 100 years. It’s going to be different. We’re going to pick up strength in the Senate. We have an even shot in the House. So the blue wave turned out to be a blue ripple, if at all. What hurt the Democrats, particularly, is the Kavanaugh hearings for the Supreme Court of the United States. Democrats got so nasty, foul, unfair, and vicious, it turned an awful lot of average people. The bigger story is the 7,000 young men that are marching to the American border from Honduras. This is existential. This is a different type of level. It’s like a barbaric invasion that—well, let’s take some Chinese history. When the Mongols came to China, they didn’t ask permission, yet you built a great wall. But they kept coming. And they’re called a hoard, H-O-A-R-D. There are a number of—huge numbers of young warriors that are looking for fame and fortune and women, frankly, and they invade another civilization. They invade another country. We are now beginning to witness that coming in from Central America, and there’s a new group already forming in Honduras now. So there’s now two groups on the way to the U.S. This will continue for decades unless Trump can stop them at the border. So this is not just a temporary problem. It is a permanent invasion issue, and at the same time, we have 4 million legal, qualified people that want to come to America. Most of them are Asian, many of them Chinese, and they can’t come because of the illegals from south of the border. We want the legal immigrants. We need at least a million a year. Half of them are Asians. We want them. We need them. We need to have their energy, their talent, and their brains.
Simone Gao: The mainstream media’s coverage of President Trump is 92 percent negative. Do you think that has impacted his public approval rating?
Shawn Steel: That’s a great question. Of course it’s impacted his approval. People that don’t read the news, just sort of hear or they think, oh, nobody likes Trump, so I guess I don’t like him. But the days of mainstream media controlling American thought diminishes literally every day. There used to be three networks where 90 percent of Americans watched and got their news. There are now hundreds. Epoch, NTD is another example of whole new media that millions of people listen to to get honest news. We’re seeing a revolution when it comes to news, so the mainstream media is less relevant and less influential. Secondly, most Americans in multiple polls don’t trust mainstream media. Most Americans now believe it is propaganda. And they are correct. Thirdly, Trump uses the Twitter, there are thousands of conservative websites and blogs that are putting out a completely different story. Most people that I know do not depend on the New York Times for news or ABC TV. They go to Drudge, they go to National Review, they go to Epoch, they go to NTD. They go to other sources for honest information. And that’s what’s happening. So their power is much weaker than it used to be.
Filler: Coming up: The fight for California’s House seats.
Part 3: Can Democrats Retake the House via California?
Narration: The House of Representatives has 435 seats. 53 of those seats are in California. The old saying, “So goes California, so goes the nation” is relevant for this midterm election. One-third of the seats Democrats need to retake the House are in play in California. How Californians vote could decide which party controls the House.
Simone Gao: I asked California Republican National Committeeman Shawn Steel what he thinks will happen.
Simone Gao: One-third of the seats Democrats need to flip to regain the House are in California. So do you think Democrats will overtake those seats in California?
Shawn Steel: Excellent question. I am Californian. I am the committeeman for the Republican Party from California. And you’re correct. One-third of their possible seats are in California. They would have to win half the Republican delegation. There’s 14 Republicans. They’re targeting seven. They will not win seven. Today, I would say they will win one for sure, and three are undecided. So they’re not going to get enough from California to conquer the House. Chances are we have a good, young, anti-communist Young Kim, who’s running for a seat that we thought we were in trouble. She’s now ahead. Dana Rohrabacher, the Newport Beach congressman we were worried about, he’s slightly ahead, but Bloomberg just put 4 million—a super billionaire, Bloomberg just put $4 million against one congressman last night, Dana Rohrabacher. But Newport Beach is pretty conservative. So the Democrats are spending between 60 to 70 million dollars in California alone to beat up Republicans. That’s about 9 million apiece. This is big stakes. Nine million dollars can buy a lot of power, but when you have 60 to 70 million dollars going after seven congressmen, that’s enormously powerful. Now, we’re not alone. We have our own armies, we’re on the ground. We have our own voters. We have headquarters everywhere. It’s a classic battle, and nobody’s ahead decidedly. I would say, of the seven seats, four are safe. Three, two are in danger. One may be lost. So that’s not going to do it for Nancy. She’s going to have to get power in other states.
Simone Gao: What race will you be watching on the election night?
Shawn Steel: Well, I’m going to be focusing mostly in Orange County. I’m going to be looking at across the country. I’m going to be looking happily at North Dakota, Tennessee, Nevada, Arizona for U.S. Senate seats. Very excited about Florida. Very excited about Indiana and Missouri. There’s some really good opportunities that might flow our way, much better than just picking up four seats. We may pick up seven. I mean, it could be quite historic. I’ll worry about the House, but I know Orange County, California, the best, so I’m going to be looking at Dana Rohrabacher and Young Kim. And then we got several Asian-Americans who are running for local offices. There’ll be Tyler Diep, a Vietnamese refugee from the communist in Vietnam, and he’s running for assembly. And so those are my big three races: Young Kim, a Korean; Tyler Diep, a Vietnamese; and Dana Rohrabacher, an original anti-communist and speech writer for Ronald Reagan.
Simone Gao: If Democrats retake the House, how will that affect the rest of President Trump’s term?
Shawn Steel: If the Democrats take over under Pelosi, there’s no such thing as a moderate Democrat. Anybody that says they’re willing to reach across the aisles—we saw that in the Kavanaugh hearings. Of all the Senators, only one Democrat voted for Kavanaugh. So they’re lockstep, tied down by the far left. Not much will happen in Congress, but the president will have a lot of power. Remember, Obama did pretty well with a Republican Congress in both houses. He did pretty well. And Trump is going to do great things in foreign policy. The economy’s going to continue to grow and expand. We are not going to get new laws passed, that’s only if they captured the house.
Simone Gao: The 2016 presidential election was a big surprise to mainstream media and much of the country. Maybe the midterms will have their own surprises. What do you think? By the way, make sure to go out and vote. Thanks for watching “Zooming In.” I’m Simone Gao. See you next week.