Donald Trump fears it won't be a very good 2018. Here's why

The president doesn't know if he'll push for infrastructure or entitlement cuts — and is dreading midterm setbacks

Published January 2, 2018 7:52AM (EST)

 (Getty/Brendan Smialowski)
(Getty/Brendan Smialowski)

President Donald Trump is staring down the barrel of a very, very unfavorable political climate in 2018.

The foremost problem is the prospect of a Democratic sweep in the upcoming midterm elections, according to Axios. One source told the site that when it comes to the possibility that Democratic victories in November could both thwart the GOP's legislative agenda and make Trump vulnerable to impeachment, the president "gets it."

Meanwhile Reince Priebus, the former chairman of the Republican National Committee and Trump's former chief of staff, has been telling Republican Party leaders that they need to have access to the entire data and ground operation for every single congressional district. He also encouraged them to not be thrifty, arguing that they must "spend whatever needs to be spent as if 2020 relies on it."

Another dilemma facing the Trump White House is whether it should focus its 2018 legislative agenda on entitlement reform or measures more likely to win over moderates, according to Politico. In the former camp, House Speaker Paul Ryan has made it clear that slashing major entitlement programs like Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security has been an important dream of his, and it is anticipated that he will urge the White House to move in that direction. At the same time, many Republican advisers — including some in the White House — feel that it is unlikely Republicans would be able to pass anything that right-wing now that their Senate majority has been reduced to 51-49. They instead have urged the president to try to strike a deal with Democratic congressional leaders on DACA and then work to pass an infrastructure reform bill, one that polls have found would be broadly popular.

One thing that is clear: By hosting Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell at Camp David next weekend for the express purpose of developing a 2018 legislative agenda, Trump is determined to resolve those disputes as quickly as possible.

By Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer for Salon. He holds an MA in History from Rutgers University-Newark and is ABD in his PhD program in History at Lehigh University. His work has appeared in Mic, Quartz and MSNBC.

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2018 Donald Trump Entitlement Reform Infrastructure Medicaid Medicare Paul Ryan Social Security Welfare Reform