Trump loyalists eye defying history — again — by rallying for midterms


The chance to see President Donald Trump motivated Sylvia Hart to spend her 66th birthday waiting for hours in occasional rain outside the Florida State Fairgrounds Expo Hall for Trump’s rally here Tuesday.

And Hart, a registered Democrat in Sarasota County, said Trump has motivated her to do something she’s been indifferent to in the past — vote in a midterm election, even without Trump’s name on the ballot.

READ: Fray in Tampa Bay: Trump, Greene to host dueling political rallies

“I believe in what he talks about. I believe he’s trying to do the best that he can,” Hart said of Trump. She said she has “sometimes” voted in past midterms, but this year “I guess the difference is the behavior of the Democrats and the way they’re handling the loss of the presidency has got me very concerned.”

Trump supporters delighted in upending conventional wisdom in 2016 when Trump defeated Hillary Clinton. Now Trump loyalists hope to defy eight decades of history by staving off Republican losses in this year’s midterms.

READ ALSO: More Trump-centric campaign: Ron DeSantis or Jeff Greene?

Since 1938, the party that controls the White House has lost an average of 29 House seats and 4 Senate seats during non-presidential election years, according to data compiled by the American Presidency Project at the University of California at Santa Barbara.

This year, polls asking voters whether they favor a generic Democrat or Republican for Congress favor Democrats by an average of 7.3 percent, according to a compilation by RealClearPolitics.com.

In 2018, losses approaching the historical average would cost Republicans control of the House and Senate, hampering Trump’s agenda — or worse, Trump supporters fear.

“If we lose the House, it’s game over. The Democrats at least are going to try for impeachment without any rhyme or reason,” said John Kish, 23, a college student who lives in Fort Myers and came to the rally with his mother, both in Make America Great Again hats.

Kish said he didn’t vote in the 2014 midterms as a 19-year-old but has signed up this year to get a vote-by-mail ballot when he’s away at West Virginia University in the fall.

Trump is a former Democrat and ideological sojourner who ran against the GOP establishment in 2016. Many of his supporters are loyal to Trump rather than the Republican Party — a problem Democrats faced in 2010 and 2014 when many voters who had been excited to vote for Barack Obama for president didn’t show up for midterms.

Tim Kaiser of Okeechobee, 49, said he’s motivated to vote in this year’s elections to help Trump, who he called “the best president in my lifetime,” rather than to advance any party’s agenda.

“I normally don’t (vote in midterms) because until Trump came along it doesn’t matter which side of the aisle you’re on, I don’t think any politicians are worth a damn,” Kaiser said.

Bert Stucke of Sun City Center wore a “Trump 2020” shirt to the rally, but said he won’t overlook 2018. Describing himself as a “50-50” midterm voter, Stucke said, “This year I’m more motivated because of Donald Trump.”

Dana Mills of Bradenton, also wearing a Trump 2020 shirt, said he’s a political junkie who is well aware that past presidents’ parties usually suffer losses in midterms.

“I don’t know what to think. You know, I actually believed the news that he didn’t have a chance before the (2016) election,” Mills said.

Mills said Trump supporters “mostly” seem as motivated for 2018 as they were two years ago. And he said talk of a “blue wave” and other media predictions of Democratic gains tend to prod Trump loyalists.

“I think a lot of the news really pushes them, motivates them even more,” Mills said. “I think the continual opposition does motivate people.”



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Nation & World

Senate panel sets Kavanaugh-Ford showdown hearing for Thursday
Senate panel sets Kavanaugh-Ford showdown hearing for Thursday

After days of behind the scenes wrangling, the Senate Judiciary Committee announced on Sunday afternoon that the panel will hold a hearing on Thursday to take public testimony from Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, who has accused Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct at a high school party in the early 1980&rsquo...
Scam alert: Fake Microsoft rep hijacks woman's computer, charges $3K to 'fix' it
Scam alert: Fake Microsoft rep hijacks woman's computer, charges $3K to 'fix' it

A 66-year-old West Chester Township, Ohio, woman is out about $3,300 after someone claiming to be a Microsoft representative allegedly took over her computer, caused a problem and charged her to fix it. Township spokeswoman Barb Wilson explained how the scam worked. “It appears as if the victim bought something off the internet which...
GOP: Claims of Kavanaugh accuser not backed up by possible witnesses
GOP: Claims of Kavanaugh accuser not backed up by possible witnesses

Even as lawyers for Dr. Christine Blasey Ford negotiated with the Senate Judiciary Committee over the terms of her possible testimony later this week, a series of possible corroborating witnesses did not back up Ford’s allegations that she was sexually assaulted by Judge Brett Kavanaugh at a party in the 1980’s,...
Georgia Uber driver accused of stabbing 2 customers
Georgia Uber driver accused of stabbing 2 customers

An Uber driver is accused of stabbing two of her customers last Sunday in east Georgia, the Augusta Chronicle reported. Shaunisha Danielle Brown, 29, of Augusta, faces two counts of aggravated assault, the newspaper reported. She’s accused of stabbing two people in the 5000 block of Reynolds Way, according to a Grovetown police...
Which personality type are you? New study reveals 4 core groupings
Which personality type are you? New study reveals 4 core groupings

You may be familiar with Myers-Briggs’ 16 different personality types, but new research published this week in the journal Nature Human Behavior shows there are four distinct personality clusters most individuals around the globe adhere to best. Psychologists and engineers at Northwestern University in Illinois sought to &ldquo...
More Stories