Poll Test for Trump

As polls are hap­pen­ing dur­ing the mid­dle of Trump’s four-year term, it is seen as a sort of ref­er­en­dum on his lead­er­ship and will set the course for the 2020 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion

The Day After - - CONTENT - By Shankar ku­mar

On Novem­ber 6, the US is go­ing to have midterm elec­tion for the all 435 House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives seats and 35 of the 100 Se­nate seats. Be­sides, elec­tion will also take place for gu­ber­na­to­rial seats spread across 39 US states. Since it is hap­pen­ing dur­ing the mid­dle of Don­ald Trump’s four-year highly con­tro­ver­sial and provoca­tive pres­i­den­tial term, it is seen as a sort of ref­er­en­dum on his lead­er­ship and will set the course for the 2020 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion.

Given the present struc­ture of the US Congress, Repub­li­cans dom­i­nate the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tive with 235 seats and the Se­nate with 51 seats, while 193 seats are held by Democrats in the House and 47 seats in the Se­nate. The Demo­cratic Party also en­joys the sup­port of the two in­de­pen­dent mem­bers in the Se­nate. How­ever, of the to­tal 35 Se­nate seats go­ing for the polls, 24 are held by Democrats, nine by Repub­li­cans and two by in­de­pen­dents. There­fore, the par­ti­san risk for Repub­li­cans is low in con­trast to Democrats who will have to win back not only all 24 seats they cur­rently hold, they have to see that they bag 4 more seats to gain ma­jor­ity in the Se­nate. Sim­i­larly, to gain sim­ple ma­jor­ity in the 435-mem­ber House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tive, the Demo­cratic Party will have to win 218 seats, which means 24 more than what it cur­rently holds in the House.

But af­ter US au­thor­i­ties’ seizure of crude pipe bombs which were ad­dressed to sev­eral prom­i­nent Democrats like for­mer Pres­i­dent Barak Obama, for­mer Vice Pres­i­dent Joe Bi­den, for­mer Sec­re­tary of State Hil­lary Clin­ton and CNN’s New York based head­quar­ters, Ge­orge Soros and oth­ers, pub­lic mood has started po­lar­iz­ing to­wards Democrats. Since it took place just ahead of US Con­gres­sional elec­tion, it has set many tongues wag­ging with peo­ple ques­tion­ing the mo­tive be­hind the se­lec­tive na­ture of tar­get­ing by not

so-far iden­ti­fied bombers. It is true that those tar­geted by in­ter­cepted pipe-bombs be­longed to a group which has no love lost for Pres­i­dent Trump and his rash and un­be­com­ing be­hav­ior.

Some crit­ics have at­trib­uted the de­vel­op­ment to cur­rent vi­o­lent po­lit­i­cal en­vi­ron­ment in Amer­ica where, un­der the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion, lib­er­als, Blacks, Lati­nos, Asian mi­grants and women feel threat­ened and marginal­ized. His an­timi­grant pol­icy which has led to forcible sep­a­ra­tion of thou­sands of cry­ing, hap­less chil­dren from their par­ents, who crossed into the US with­out doc­u­ments, is a dark, chilling ex­am­ple of in­hu­man­ness. While re­fus­ing to put on hold this pol­icy, he brazenly said, “There have to be con­se­quences” for en­ter­ing the US il­le­gally. His anti-Mus­lim rant and retweet­ing of anti-Mus­lim videos from a far-right Bri­tish ac­count in the name of na­tional se­cu­rity aware­ness cam­paign, has been seen as a tren­chant di­vi­sive move.

Wor­ri­some part of his on­go­ing pres­i­den­tial in­ning is lack of con­sis­tency in his thought and ac­tion. Soon af­ter his in­au­gu­ra­tion as the US Pres­i­dent in Jan­uary 2017, he an­nounced with­drawal of Amer­ica from the Cli­mate Change talks. A few days ago when lead­ing en­vi­ron­men­tal sci­en­tists warned that the world is head­ing to­wards a tem­per­a­ture rise of 3C, Trump in his usual pout­ing style said sci­en­tists have a “po­lit­i­cal agenda.” For women, his stand is well known. At least 22 women have ac­cused him of the sex­ual mis­con­duct. In the re­cent mem­ory, he is go­ing to be the first US Pres­i­dent who is a few months away from pos­si­ble im­peach­ment on the is­sue of hack­ing of the 2016 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion.

In Au­gust, Trump’s long-serv­ing at­tor­ney Michael Co­hen and ex-cam­paign man­ager Paul Manafort were found guilty of fi­nan­cial mis­de­meanor by courts in New York and Vir­ginia. This has fur­ther fu­eled the de­mand for Trump’s im­peach­ment. If it has not hap­pened so far, it is be­cause of the fact that the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tive and the Se­nate are con­trolled by Repub­li­cans.

In the lower cham­ber of the US Congress, which is the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tive, 235 seats are held by Repub­li­cans, while Democrats have a con­trol over 193 seats. Sim­i­larly in the up­per cham­ber of the US Congress, which is Se­nate, Repub­li­cans have 51 seats, Democrats have a con­trol over 47 seats. Democrats also en­joy sup­port of two In­de­pen­dents in the Se­nate. Of the to­tal 35 Se­nate seats go­ing for the polls, 24 are held by Democrats, nine by Repub­li­cans and two by In­de­pen­dents. Hence on the face value, the par­ti­san risk for Repub­li­cans is low in com­par­i­son to Democrats as they will have to win back not only all 24 seats they cur­rently hold, they will also have to see that they bag 4 more seats to gain ma­jor­ity in the Se­nate. Sim­i­larly to gain sim­ple ma­jor­ity in the 435-mem­ber House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tive, the Demo­cratic Party will have to win 218 seats, which means 24 more than what it cur­rently holds in the House.

Crit­ics say that since the magic touch of Pres­i­dent Trump has waned and he is more and more seen as a li­a­bil­ity than as­set, there is pos­si­bil­ity Repub­li­cans don’t per­form well in the elec­tion for both Houses. Go­ing by some in­ter­na­tional watch­ers’ anal­y­sis even if Repub­li­cans win more seats in one house and lose in an­other, Pres­i­dent Trump may not find it easy to have his agenda a smooth sail­ing. In that way to say that he may face tough days ahead for him­self af­ter the mid-term polls will not be at all a cyn­i­cal anal­y­sis of un­fold­ing sit­u­a­tion in Amer­ica. For this, Pres­i­dent Trump is him­self to be blamed. He is the first ever US Pres­i­dent against whom bu­reau­crats work­ing in the White House have no pos­i­tive views. Top rank­ing of­fi­cials have al­ready left the Pres­i­dent. Even those who carry on in the job, have not very high opin­ion about Trump.

The Septem­ber 5 anony­mous New York Times Op-Ed page ed­i­to­rial was be­low the belt re­mark against his lead­er­ship. It de­tailed a quite re­sis­tance at work in the White House. Also, some of the top rank­ing Repub­li­can lead­ers are not com­fort­able with Trump’s at­ti­tude and style of func­tion­ing. John McCain, the highly cel­e­brated Repub­li­can Sen­a­tor and Viet­nam War hero, who died re­cently, was one of the most out­spo­ken crit­ics of Trump. He was not in­vited by McCain’s fam­ily mem­bers for the dead Sen­a­tor’s fu­neral cer­e­mony in Wash­ing­ton on Septem­ber 1, in­di­cat­ing it clearly that within hard­core Repub­li­can fam­i­lies too, the in­cum­bent Pres­i­dent is not an adorable face. As such it will be im­pru­dent to say that the Novem­ber 6 mid-term elec­tion will not be de­ci­sive one for the Pres­i­dent and Repub­li­cans.

Hil­lary Clin­ton ac­knowl­edges the crowd at the Demo­cratic Na­tional Con­ven­tion

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