There's no shortage of ways for Brown to challenge McMorris Rodgers' role in the Trump party

Lisa Brown is running a well-organized campaign in her effort to defeat her better-funded (thanks to Citizens United) opponent, incumbent Cathy McMorris Rodgers. But what about Brown's strategy? Should she more directly attack McMorris Rodgers' record? Work more on turnout and name recognition? Or perhaps drape Trump around her opponent?

Brown has plenty to work with. For example, McMorris Rodgers supports Trump in spite of his trade wars that threaten the entire Washington state economy — agriculture, aircraft, you name it.

Here, however, is where things get interesting, because it's Congress, not the president, that — according to the Constitution — is responsible for tariffs. Over the years, for many different reasons, Congress has effectively deeded over most of this power to presidents. This said, Congress at any time it chooses could begin to take back this power. This might be the time, but it would take people like McMorris Rodgers to make it happen. Don't hold your breath — they're too busy doing nothing.

In 1948, Truman successfully ran against what he called the "Do-Nothing Congress." Today's version of a do-nothing Congress, with McMorris Rodgers in leadership, does seem to have one thing they will do: protect Donald Trump.

Had the Republican health care bill supported by McMorris Rodgers passed, many hospitals likely would have had to close their doors. And get ready to pay for Trump's tax cuts by reductions to Medicaid and Medicare. McMorris Rodgers can be expected to support these cuts even though they'll be especially painful to her 5th District.

The GOP's health care mantra was "repeal and replace," but then, when McMorris Rodgers and her party took control, it became clear that all they had on their agenda was "repeal." She was OK with a bill that would have taken health care away from millions of Americans, including thousands of her own constituents. Seemingly, it's her party's modus operandi: Say anything, deny any unpleasant outcome, then change the subject.

As for the impact of Trump's tax cuts, according to the Congressional Budget Office, here's what America can expect: Real GDP will grow by 3.3 percent in 2018; 2.4 percent in 2019; and only 1.8 percent in 2020. But those growth rates will not offset the deficits, which will increase rapidly this year and over the next few years, then stabilize, resulting in a projected cumulative deficit of $11.7 trillion by 2027.

That's a long way of saying "bankruptcy."

Our congresswoman has supported Trump on all of this, indeed she has to be one of his most loyal supporters, having backed his policies at a clip of 97.6 percent.

And all the while, Trump is setting records for vulgarity, sexism, stupidity, arrogance, dishonesty and ignorance. A recent case in point was his ugly Montana rally, where he insulted George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush, Barack Obama, John McCain and, of course, Hillary Clinton, who he still wants to lock up.

Brown, meanwhile, has a strong record of accomplishment, both as the state Senate majority leader in Olympia and more recently as the chancellor of WSU Spokane, where she played a major role in bringing a medical school to Spokane. In contrast, McMorris Rodgers has no record of such accomplishment. She has been in the leadership, which, frankly, is a position of no power and less influence. Don't confuse her job with, say, chairing the House Ways and Means Committee.

The other day I ran into a Trump supporter who told me he voted for him because he was the lesser of two evils. Really? Had this guy ever worked with or around Mrs. Clinton? Well no. But he had heard Trump call her "crooked Hillary." Let's look at what senators with whom Hillary had actually worked thought of her — from both parties: They confirmed her to be secretary of state by a bipartisan vote of 94-2.

Trump's claims to his own accomplishments are all about his deals. (So many "beautiful deals.") Well, six of those beautiful deals ended in bankruptcies, while the Trump University scam resulted in him paying out $25 million to keep the fraud case out of court. (The settlement came when the case was scheduled to go to trial in 10 days; Trump clearly did not want to go anywhere near a jury.)

And we haven't begun to discuss her president's favorite Russian dictator. The Senate Intelligence Committee has confirmed that, yes, there was Russia meddling in the election, all intended to boost Trump's chances. Trump dismisses these bipartisan findings and asserts that special counsel Robert Mueller is just producing more fake news — in front of the world with Vladimir Putin standing by his side, his plan to sow discord going perfectly.

And then there are all those children at the border Trump has kidnapped from their parents. Which brings us back to that 97.6 percent. Right there in Trump's hip pocket is Cathy McMorris Rodgers. This election cycle, she's got a lot of 'splainin' to do. ♦

Great Pumpkin Race and Family Carnival @ Greenwood Memorial Terrace

Sat., Oct. 16, 11 a.m.-2 p.m.
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About The Author

Robert Herold

Robert Herold is a retired professor of public administration and political science at both Eastern Washington University and Gonzaga University. Robert Herold's collection of Inlander columns dating back to 1995, Robert's Rules, is available at Auntie's.