GOP gubernatorial candidates need not apply

Voters here in blue Connecticut have elected their fair share of Republican governors over the years, enough to suggest a clear inclination in that direction, like they want a check on all the Democrats they've elected to other offices.

I believe, were it not for the Trump show in Washington, 2018 had been shaping up to be a slam dunk for Republicans to reclaim the Connecticut governor's mansion.

After all, the two-term Democrat in the job is widely disliked and blamed for the sorry state of the state. We caught a glimpse of that in the last election of state office holders, with impressive GOP gains in the General Assembly.

But that was then. And, for 2018, I can think only of the voter I talked to before the last election in the state, for municipal officer holders, who told me he would never vote again for any Republican.

I think that is very much the state of mind of many Connecticut Democrats, overwhelming in voter registration numbers in the first place, as they ponder the next statewide election here.

Really, how can voters in any blue state not be expected to seek revenge against the party that rigged the tax deck against them in last year's big tax giveaway to rich Republican donors and taxpayers in red states.

I believe the dynamic for this already has been set up. Reasonable voters here, the ones that might see their way to voting for a fiscally conservative, socially progressive Republican to run things in Hartford, are going to run screaming from that idea this year.

After all, the Republican party has lost all claim to being anything but the party of greed, out to rig the system even more for the haves, shred the safety net for the most sick and vulnerable among us and to let corporations run free of decades of regulations meant to protect Americans, their civil liberties, their investments, their jobs and their environment.

And there no longer seems to be even a pretense of varnishing this with any claim to pretend it's not what it seems to obviously be, even few promises of trickle down.

Instead, Donald Trump leans in toward his glittered dinner companions in a year-end gala at Mar-A-Lago and announces he has just made them all a lot richer.

I believe even many registered Connecticut Republicans are appalled by this and by Trump and the Trump enabling that has been going on within the Washington establishment.

This is a big GOP swoon that is going to end very badly in the next national election.

And this is what we know now, early on in the 2018 game, with the first big snow of the year not even yet melted. Imagine how worse it is going to get. Already few Republicans appear likely to be elected to much of anything this year in Connecticut.

And it is all going to get much, much worse.

You already have one of Trump's closest aides in his election campaign calling the president's family association with Russians treasonous. His former campaign manager has been indicted and the national security advisor is singing to prosecutors.

Who doesn't think Trump's making a $50 million profit by flipping a mansion in Palm Beach, selling it to a Putin-friendly Russian oligarch who later tore it down, isn't going to surface in one of the next moves against the Trump team by the special prosecutor.

And what will become of the Republican Party, already known for its support of a Senate candidate accused of child molesting, when it becomes clear, and it will, that they have been trying to shield treason at the highest levels of government, in the interest of protecting the interests of rich donors.

It used to be the party tough on enemies like Russia, defenders of law and order. Now Republicans are attacking revered institutions of law and order, in the name of defending a greedy narcissist accused of consorting with the enemy for his own gain.

It is not shaping up to be a pretty year for Republicans anywhere, but I think that will be especially true as the next gubernatorial contest unfolds here.

Of course the Connecticut governor's mansion is kind of a booby prize this year. Who wants to preside over a state in deep decline?

Quite a few, strangely enough, from both sides of the aisles.

Unless this week's snow is still around in July, when President Pence announces he will not pardon Donald Trump, I expect it will be a Democrat who claims that slippery election prize here.

This is the opinion of David Collins.

d.collins@theday.com

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