Republicans who still oppose Trump (yes, they do exist) are fond of pointing out that Hillary Clinton was a terrible presidential candidate. Knee-jerk conservatives, filled with partisan passion, are tempted to agree on this point. But conservatives are being tricked. By agreeing that Hillary Clinton was a uniquely bad candidate, they are allowing the #NeverTrump crowd to promote the idea that President Trump never would have won the 2016 election, were it not for Hillary Clinton—a revision of history that much of the Left has already embraced.
In reality, President Trump's decisive advantage in 2016 had little to do with Clinton's personality or corruption. His advantage was that, for the first time since Ronald Reagan, the Republican candidate was a populist outsider, while the Democrat candidate was part of the existing established elite. That fact is part of the reason I was able to predict Trump's general election victory while the 2016 primary season was barely underway.
Never-Trump Republicans no doubt hope they can convince Republican congressional candidates to distance themselves from Trump this November. Their idea is that this distance might let non-Trump Republicans avoid getting pummeled by the coming "blue wave." But, of course, that is not how it works. And Republicans would be foolish, anyhow, to follow the advice of people who have already announced their support for Democrats or a third party.
Make no mistake about it: November will be a referendum on Trump. Midterm election turnout is always low. And this gives the excited opposition party a decisive advantage, while complacent supporters of the sitting president often stay home.
Republicans have only one hope to avoid massive defeat in November: their base must be as excited about Trump as they were in 2016. This may seem terribly unlikely, but there is one way to accomplish it. If Republicans want to win, they should convince their own base that Democratic control of the House means impeachment for Trump, and then run as the party committed to continuing the Trump policy agenda.