Trump takes hit from midterms, but keeps on fighting
American voters landed a solid body-blow to President Donald Trump in this week’s midterm elections — and hooray for that.
But while there’s much to cheer about this result, it’s far from the knockout punch so many people in and outside the United States desperately wanted. He’s still standing.
Nor is it by any means certain this is the beginning of the end of Trump as the world’s most powerful, and possibly disruptive, leader. More than anything else, his fate depends on what the re-invigorated Democrats choose to do.
To be sure, the president and his Republicans suffered the greatest defeat in Tuesday’s election when they lost their majority in the House of Representatives. Before these midterms — widely considered a referendum on Trump’s presidency — the Republicans enjoyed a monopoly on power in Washington.
A Republican sat in the White House and Republicans controlled both Congressional chambers. While this didn’t guarantee the success of Trump’s every whim, it made it easier for him to have his way — and fed his authoritarian inclinations.
This week’s midterms upended the status quo by handing the Democrats majority control of the House of Representatives.
As a result, the Democrats can now block or seek changes to initiatives launched by Trump or other Republicans. Equally important, the Democrats can investigate Trump’s murky finances as well as his dealings with foreign governments, especially during the 2016 elections.
Trump’s powers will be checked. Accountability might await him. His road to the 2020 presidential race is filled with Democratic potholes, and thank goodness.
Even so, these midterms failed to produce the expected “blue wave” of Democrats that could eventually wash Trump out of Washington. No wonder Trump tried to claim a “big victory.”
Considering the damage he’s done in such a short time — he polarized America by stoking the fires of racism and xenophobia, alienated its oldest allies, including Canada, started a trade war with China and cozied up to dictators, all while revelling in offensive, utterly unpresidential behaviour — he deserved a harsher verdict from the voters.
Yet the Republicans actually solidified their Senate majority and can use it to obstruct the Democrats’ House of Representatives agenda. Congress is divided. America remains divided, too, which Trump will exploit every way he can.
That his bedrock support remains so large and held so well should worry everyone who believes America deserves — and can be — better. All this demands serious study and sober thought by the Democrats in the coming months.
We believe there is an overwhelming case for the Democrats to move forward as a party of the progressive but moderate centre rather than to hew farther to the left, as some newly elected and avowedly “socialist-Democrats” demand.
For the sake of their country as well as their political future, the Democrats need to stake out the middle ground that can welcome Americans of goodwill who currently stand on both sides of the growing political divide, and that includes the swing voters. Above all, the Democrats should reject Trump’s ugly, divide-andconquer tactics.
We hope this pragmatic yet principled path could heal the bitter divisions rending American society. And, as Canada nears a general election of its own, we call on our own politicians to ensure such polarization never infects this land.