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December 9, 2019

Political storm in America

Opinion

December 9, 2019

US President Donald Trump is facing impeachment in the House of Representatives over accusations of abusing his power for personal political gains, to influence the 2020 presidential election and to reassure his second tenure in office.

On the other hand, the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination race has deepened the divide between moderates and the progressive left. Within the party, there are currently 15 candidates bidding to be the party’s nominee for next year’s election.

When the race for nomination started the number of candidates was over 20, and most recently two more candidates have joined the growing field for nomination, including billionaire and former New York mayor Mike Bloomberg, something that never happened before. Why are there so many candidates within the party this time? Why does each one of them think that he/she is the right person to defeat Donald Trump?

The answer is that all of them assume that Trump is so unpopular that any nominee can defeat him. Some analysts are of the view that a divided and large Democratic field weakens candidates, wastes time and resources, instead of focus on one candidate who could assemble resources, name recognition and message for a very crucial election. They fear another four-year term for Trump in office would badly damage American standing in global politics and regression in domestic policies.

The Democrats also fear that the gains made during the Obama presidency are being undone by the Trump administration. Trump has already flipped the US Supreme Court, with conservative judges now in majority as he has sworn two judges to the court, which is seen a great success by the Republican Party; no other president could deliver this to them in recent history.

Trump’s approval ratings within the Republican Party are at an all-time high; he enjoys over 85 percent support among conservatives, and it has become a foregone conclusion that what was once Lincoln’s party has become Trump’s party. Some even suggest he is more popular than Lincoln and enjoys absolute last say on who gets the party’s nomination in state, house and senate elections. Sitting senators and Congress members who are seeking reelection in 2020 dare not speak a word against him; the whole party has become hostage to his whims.

There is no second-tier leadership in the party, his potential critics do not make a public stand against him fearing his demolishing assaults, name-calling and demonizing attacks. Several Congress members have announced not to seek another term for office. People like Jeff Sessions, former AG, who refused to buy Trump’s point of view on the Mueller investigation on Russian interference in American elections in 2016, who later was forced to resign, is seeking party nomination for the Senate with Trump’s blessings. His whole stand is: ‘look yes I parted ways with Trump but did I ever go on CNN, did I ever go public against him’ – a complete surrender to appease Trump (and that still is not enough to get him Trump’s support).

Paul Ryan, former House Speaker from Wisconsin, who some believed would launch his presidential bid, remains silent, perhaps waiting for the Trump era to end, and come to the political stage as saviour. Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell did not enjoy good relations with Trump, as he stood with the Democrats on quite a few occasions to distance himself from Trump’s policy on Yemen, Saudi Arabia, the recent withdrawal from Syria and declaration of emergency to build the wall on Mexico border. US Congress disapproved of Trump’s decisions but was short of two-third majority to overrun them.

Mitch McConnell will be up for re-election in 2020 in deep red Kentucky where Trump holds big rallies. It does not seem that the question of whether Trump is and will be helpful to his re-election is under consideration, given the fact that a staunch Trump supporter and sitting governor lost the race just few weeks ago in a state that Trump carried with a 20-point margin. This has sent a message to the Republican Party that the Trump card is not helping.

Voices in American media indicate that Trump is leading a sinking boat. So when will Republican politicians save themselves and jump off? What are they waiting for? Who’s going to show them the light? They lost the mid-term elections with a historic defeat not seen since the 1970s. In 2018, the Democrats flipped 42 seats from the Republicans to regain the majority in the house and place Nancy Pelosi as the speaker of the house.

In the early October elections in Virginia, the Republicans lost the majority in the state general assembly and in the Senate, after 25 years. Something which both Obama and Clinton could not deliver to Democrats, Trump did. One explanation that post-defeat Virginia Republicans offered was that ‘yes Trump is great voter mobilizer but not just for Republicans, Democrats too. And it seems he mobilized more those people who oppose him than those that support him.

It is weird to see that the Republican Party is not in a disarray, and very much united behind him. No one is raising their voice, or supporting people like Justin Mash from Michigan who resigned from the party and declared himself independent. The party is losing ground to independent voters, who were a critical component to Trump’s victory.

These days almost daily one hears of people not just leaving the party, but with the sense that they will never forgive the “Republicans for the deafening silence amidst the storm that Trump brought in”.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter @mushrajpar

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