Trump Invents an Alternate 2017 Election History, Predicts GOP Win in 2018

The president considers himself a prognosticating wizard. The record says otherwise. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

In the wake of statewide losses in Virginia and Alabama this autumn, most Republicans are battening down the hatches for a difficult 2018 midterm election next November, which is what anyone familiar with political history would expect anyway (with the exception of a few elections involving presidents with sky-high approval ratings, the party controlling the White House always loses ground in midterms).

But not Donald Trump, who in a single tweet managed to mangle what happened this year and make an extremely improbable prediction for next year:

Actually, Republicans are 5-2 in congressional races (they lost in CA-34, as well as Alabama), and in the five House races they won (all in strongly GOP districts vacated by members joining the Trump administration), Republicans lost ground compared to prior elections. Winning in, say, GA-06 was better than losing, and a psychological setback for Democrats who convinced themselves Jon Ossoff was going to win. But it was still a sign Republicans were losing traction even in districts that were previously safe.

Illustration: FiveThirtyEight

Trump’s claim that he “said” Gillespie and Moore would lose is strange as well, and another sign that POTUS considers himself infallible. He rationalized Gillespie’s loss as being attributable to the Virginian’s refusal to rise each morning and sing hymns of praise to his own imperial self — but if he predicted a GOP loss in Virginia, it was in private. He did say at one point back in September that he was endorsing Big Luther Strange because Roy Moore would “have a very hard time being elected.” But he was confidently predicting a Moore win the day of the general election.

Whenever his dubious history of predictions is raised, of course, Trump triumphantly counters with his prophecy of his own win (in the Electoral College, at least) when so many others thought he would lose. Is it a sign of genius when a narcissist obsessed with “winning” says he will win? Probably not.

As for 2018, Trump would have a very hard time spinning the likely GOP across-the-board setbacks as being somehow a confirmation of his greatness. So we can probably expect him to regularly predict total victory in all states. And other Republicans will have to steel themselves against the temptation to roll their eyes whenever their chieftain looks at the horizon and sees a glorious electoral future.

Trump Revises 2017 History, Predicts GOP Win in 2018