It has been an article of faith among Democrats from the moment they recovered (sort of) from the shock of November 2016 that they would get their revenge in November 2018 against “vulnerable” Republicans in Congress, none supposedly more vulnerable than Kevin Yoder of Kansas’s 3rd District.
Some sample headlines:
KMUW Wichita: “Trends Indicate Yoder Could Be Vulnerable In KS 3rd District Race”
Kansas City Star: “Why Rep. Kevin Yoder could lose his re-election bid in 2018”
KCUR: “Democrats Targeting Yoder In Bid To Gain U.S. House Majority”
Local donors, however, do not appear to share the media’s bleak perspective on Yoder’s chances. They are betting Yoder will win. Yoder brought in $500,000 in the fourth quarter of 2017, leaving him with more than $1.75 million in cash-on-hand. In fact, for the second straight quarter, Yoder received twice the donations of his Democratic challengers combined.
“Democrats are panicking today,” said C. J. Grover, Yoder for Congress spokesperson. “They’re probably confounded as to why Kansans aren’t responding positively to the party that calls $3,000 bonuses, minimum wage increases, and new benefits packages ‘crumbs.'”
The public has begun to see through the media smokescreen. A newly released poll from the Monmouth University Polling Institute shows the generic Democrat lead in congressional races shrinking from 15 percent to 2 percent in the month following the passage of tax reform. This poll was taken before President Trump’s successful state of the union speech.
It should be noted too that before the election of 2016, the Democrats were insisting that Trump’s nomination left Yoder vulnerable. Case in point is this headline from the Topeka Capital-Journal: “National Democrats see Rep. Kevin Yoder as vulnerable with Trump as nominee.”
What has beguiled Democrats is the fact that Hillary Clinton outpolled Trump in the 3rd District 47.2 to 46.0. Their thinking is that if they can tie Yoder to Trump, who is still wildly unpopular in newsrooms and Democratic hangouts throughout the district, they can sink his candidacy.
They are dreaming. In 2016, soft Republican suburban districts that had voted for Romney in 2012 went for Hillary. Johnson County fit the national model perfectly. The respectable Republican business class saw in Trump a less than respectable populist whose tax and spending policies were something of a crap shoot.
With the passage of tax reform, that equation changes. In 2018, the ever “vulnerable” Kevin Yoder is likely to carry the district by more than the nearly 10 points he won by in 2016, especially if the Democrats insist on tying him to Trump.