After two years of endless whinging from the Left, the 2018 midterms have come and gone. The results were mixed. If the Left wanted 2018 to be a referendum on Trump’s presidency, they failed. Yet one thing is certain: however slightly, the Democratic Party increased their standing in our political system.
Yes, it’s true that the Democrats won only a narrow margin in the House while the Republicans took an even larger majority in the Senate. Despite their delusions to the contrary, Donald J. Trump remains president of the United States.
Still, one can be assured that the Democrat-controlled House is going to swamp the Trump Administration with a flurry of baseless investigations aimed at handicapping the president and keeping him from following through on his transformative agenda.
In essence, if the 2016 presidential election was America’s “New Hope,” then 2018 was “The Davoise Strikes Back.” Going forward, Trump is likely to be inundated with calls from the reinvigorated #NeverTrump wing of the Republican Party (now headed by Utah’s Senator-elect Mitt Romney) to be more conciliatory toward the Democrats, unless the GOP wishes to lose even more ground in 2020.
Trump should not be swayed by these demands for conciliation. Instead, Trump should more forcefully advocate the issues that he initially campaigned on: immigration, smart protectionism, and infrastructure.
Only by standing firm against the increasing political pressure of the Left will Trump force the Democrats to choose between total gridlock (which may be their object, though if so they will pay for it in 2020) and getting key legislation passed for which they might be able to take some credit. Incidentally, at least two of the three main Trump agenda items listed above are policies that most Democrats, at least in theory, ought to support (of course, today, “Orange Man Bad!” is the Left’s unofficial motto).
If the Democrats refuse to work with the GOP and instead insist upon drowning the White House in baseless investigations, that’s fine: the DNC will become the new party of “no.” Besides, a bitter partisan fight only empowers Trump (as he has proven time and again). Trump has already signaled his intention to put an end to the obscene, partisan witch-hunt that is the Russia investigation. With Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ announced resignation; his replacement, Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker, is a known skeptic of the Robert Mueller special investigation.
Meanwhile, the White House has floated the possibility of de-classifying all materials related to the Russia investigation—a prospect that Trump nixed as recently as September. Now that Representative Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) is out as head of the House Intelligence Committee, though, Trump will face a hostile committee controlled by Adam Schiff (D-Calif.). Declassification of the Russia materials would stunt the ongoing witch-hunt and buy Trump’s supporters time to decipher the extent of the Left’s duplicity in the “investigation.”
All of this would benefit Trump as he battles a hostile Congress. Also, the mere threat of declassification would buy the Trump Administration leverage over the Democrats in Congress, thereby forcing an otherwise intransigent Congress to deal with Trump on key pieces of legislation.
Fact is, the Democrats who won in the midterms by and large were not of the “democratic socialist” variant; they were mostly ordinary Democrats who are more likely (however begrudgingly) to seek a deal with Trump over key legislation than to resist him. This also positions Nancy Pelosi—most likely the next Speaker of the House—to have a legacy of being a savvy politician as opposed to the bitter partisan who oversaw the greatest defeat of the Democratic Party in the 2010 midterms. In politics, nothing is final, after all.
Also, for all of the talk about the ongoing “civil war” within the GOP, the Democratic Party is far more divided than the Republican Party is today. In fact, the DNC is in a position similar to the one that the GOP was in back in 2010. At that point, a populist wave in the form of the Tea Party had catapulted the GOP into power. Yet, once in power, the Tea Party element was quickly co-opted by the establishment or quashed.
A similar action is occurring within the Democratic Party. Presently, the neoliberal elites of the DNC are assiduously working to bring their, frankly, psychotic socialist base to heel. Given how poorly #TheResistance candidates fared in 2018—and the fact that Pelosi will likely return to being speaker—we can assume that the DNC will continue dispiriting their base.
If a pack of neoliberal establishment-types end up dominating the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives, it will still be ugly for Trump, but it means that some movement can occur in enacting the MAGA agenda (which transcends ordinary ideological divisions). Yes, there likely will be obnoxious investigations and rumors of investigations. By fighting the Democrats vociferously, however, Trump can block the Left’s most egregious attempts to turn the Congress into a bigger clown show than it already is.
There is no denying that the midterm election was a setback for Trump and the GOP. Despite this, it was by no means a “shellacking.” The next election in 2020 will be far more favorable for the Republicans, since Trump himself will be on the ballot again (think about it: a majority of the GOP candidates who sought Trump’s blessing in 2018 won).
Thus, Trump needs to force the Democrats in Congress to move closer to his position. To achieve this herculean task, Trump would do well to exhibit strength above all else (since weakness is provocative). The president can not go wobbly on his MAGA agenda; he must fight even harder and smarter than he has fought for it previously.
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