If you haven’t noticed, voters on both sides of the aisle are pretty angry ahead of Tuesday’s midterm elections.
Of course, those on the left are hoping to translate their anger with the current administration into a “blue wave,” but the right appears to be just as mad – despite having control of the White House and Congress. Their wrath seems to be inspired by President Donald Trump’s ability to enrage, something that he views as an asset, according to Bob Woodward, author of “Fear: Trump in the White House.”
“ Two and a half years ago when I interviewed him when he was a candidate, he said with pride, ‘I bring out rage in people, I always have,’” Woodward tells Metro. “And he said, ‘I’m not sure whether that’s an asset or a liability.’ So clearly he thinks it’s possible it’s a good thing to bring out rage in people. I think the president’s job should be the opposite, to calm the rage.”
Seeing as how Trump has failed to tone down the rhetoric since taking the White House, rage has bubbled up on both sides, albeit for different reasons. That anger is apparently driving people to the polls in states like Florida, Georgia and Texas, which have seen unprecedented early voter turnout, and Election Day is shaping up to be just as historic.
However, it’s unclear whether Tuesday will see a manifestation of the so-called “blue wave,” or if conservatives will retain their control of Congress and seats in various local races around the country.
“I don’t have a crystal ball,” says Woodward. “If you look at all the commentary and the polling, there’s lots of edging going on.”
The acclaimed journalist, who famously worked on reporting the Watergate scandal with Carl Bernstein, does note how some have compared this year’s midterm elections to that of 1974. That year, Democrats were able to ride the wave of the backlash against Richard Nixon following his resignation to gain seats, but this time around, the president in question is still very much in charge.
“The comparison that’s frequently made is that of the midterm election in 1974, but that was after Nixon resigned,” Woodward says. “The resignation and the abandonment of Nixon by Republicans led to, I forget, 60-plus seats gained by the Democrats. But Trump is controversial and certainly has not resigned.”
Unlike Nixon, who ended up losing support from Republicans when his infamous tapes were made public, Trump has seemingly “immunized himself” from receiving blowback for his various scandals and questionable actions in the Oval Office through a constant stream of falsehoods and controversies. So what will finally turn his supporters against him? In Woodward’s eyes, Trump’s undoing may be how he handles – or mishandles – a major crisis in the future.
“Some people like him,” says Woodward. “The great engine that is democracy is how people vote, and he won. Maybe tomorrow he’s going to win, maybe he’s going to lose – I certainly don’t know.”
“It’s the spectacle of Trump,” he adds. “Now if we have a crisis, people will say, ‘Well what’s he going to do? Can he fix it?’ How is he going to fix whatever the trouble might be, like a terrorist attack like 9/11 or a financial crisis like 2008?”
Bob Woodward’s book tour for “Fear” stops in Boston, Philadelphia and more on the east coast this winter.