|DOUG MILLS / THE NEW YORK TIMES|
What does it say when Donald Trump claims that onetime Tea Party darling Matt Bevin "picked up at least 15 points in the last days" due to his appearance at a rally with the incumbent governor of scarlet red-state Kentucky where he told voters to make the election about him, but Bevin lost to the Democratic upstart in Tuesday's elections as Democrats took over the Virginia state legislature for the first time in more than a quarter-century, the city council of Mike Pence's hometown in Indiana went to the Democrats for the first time in four decades, and Republican control in three suburban Philadelphia counties was obliterated, with Democrats winning one county for the first time since the Civil War?
While there is a danger of reading too much into these off-off year results because state elections are not always relevant to national politics, these results and others favorable to Democrats are enormously relevant. First and foremost, they are affirmation that Trump has further mobilized a formerly anesthetized electorate that delivered Blue Wave victories last November and with it control of the U.S. House.
The Chosen One is extraordinarily unpopular outside of his so-called base, faces an uphill fight in 2020 as the impeachment noose tightens around his neck, and his Republican congressional sycophancy and lawn ornament attorney general are resorting to ever more desperate tactics -- including threatening to out the whistleblower who blew the Ukraine scandal wide open -- in the face of his high crimes and misdemeanors, growing fury and never ending torrent of profane tweets and lies.
Meanwhile, the crush of lawsuits ranging from congressional and state investigators' access to Trump's financial records to redacted evidence from the Mueller grand jury to the House impeachment inquiry's right to obtain interviews with key witnesses, is about to hit the Supreme Court. Trump cannot rely on Chief Justice John Roberts to bail him out. In fact, the law is so bloody clear and previous unanimous court high rulings against Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton in the context of impeachment so straightforward that I anticipate the court, in some instances, may merely uphold lower court rulings against the president rather than hearing time-consuming oral arguments before issuing rulings.
If am wrong and Roberts decides to play defense, he will be implicitly agreeing with the beleaguered Trump's extralegal claims of an imperial presidency, including his boast that he can shoot people in the street and get away with it. That is very difficult to fathom.
Oh, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo continues to hunker down in his hidey-hole in fear of Trump while trying to salvage the shreds of his political career as one subordinate after another tells impeachment investigators that he ceded Ukraine policy to presidential fixer Rudy Giuliani, most recently and prominently Gordon Sondland.
The EU ambassador blew up Trump's impeachment defense in testifying at a deposition that there was indeed a quid pro quo to hold up desperately needed military aid and postpone a White House meeting unless President Volodymyr Zelensky public announced on television ("so the president could see it") investigations into widely discredited corruption allegations against Joe Biden and son and the lie that Ukraine and not Russia hacked Democratic emails in 2016 that is central to AG Barr's "investigation" into whether the FBI was out to get Trump when it initiated its Russia scandal probe.
At another rally in Kentucky on election eve, Trump went so far as to tell the crowd that a loss for Bevin would prompt people "to say Trump suffered the greatest defeat in the history of the world. You can’t let that happen to me!"
It may not have been the greatest defeat, but he lost, and his defensive postering is an admission of his weakness.
Trump says he doesn't need to reach out to swing voters in his reelection fight because "my base is so strong," an acknowledgement that there might not be enough voters who unconditionally believe in him, which is to say want to destroy Obamacare, roll back environmental regulations and separate and cage children when they try to enter the country with their migrant parents.
With suburban and even exurban voters in bellwether states fleeing Republicans and the president in droves, prosecutors kicking off the trial of Roger Stone by saying the longtime Trump adviser and WikiLeaks conduit lied "because the truth looked bad for Donald Trump," and public impeachment hearings beginning next week, the tide is running out for the president. And Sean Spicer still can't dance.