Con­tro­versy of the week

How will they use their new power?

The Week (US) - - 6 News -

“Democrats are back,” said David Gra­ham in TheAt­lantic

“and they’re ready to take on Trump.” While not pro­duc­ing the crush­ing re­pu­di­a­tion of Pres­i­dent Trump that lib­er­als were hop­ing for, this week’s midterm elec­tions gave the Demo­cratic Party con­trol of the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives and the abil­ity to tie him up in knots. It will be “all but im­pos­si­ble” for Democrats to en­act any kind of pro­gres­sive leg­is­la­tion, given the near cer­tainty of Repub­li­can ob­struc­tion in the Se­nate and Trump’s veto. But gain­ing the House gives Democrats the key chair­man­ships, and sub­poena power, they need to con­duct “strict over­sight of the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion”—a vi­tal con­sti­tu­tional duty in which the cur­rent GOP-led House has showed ab­so­lutely no in­ter­est. Re­turn­ing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says im­peach­ment is off the ta­ble, said David Corn in MotherJones.com, but come Jan­uary the White House will likely still be “hit by a wave of in­ves­ti­ga­tions and sub­poena re­quests” with no prece­dent in Amer­i­can his­tory. The House will in­ves­ti­gate Trump’s hid­den tax re­turns, pay­ments the Trump Or­ga­ni­za­tion is re­ceiv­ing from for­eign sources, his shady deal­ings with Rus­sia, his shame­ful fam­ily-sep­a­ra­tion pol­icy, and much, much more. Two years into an ad­min­is­tra­tion that has made so many Amer­i­cans fear for the fu­ture of their democ­racy, it’s fi­nally “Trump’s turn to be afraid.”

A bliz­zard of in­ves­ti­ga­tions won’t “be enough for the far left,” said Thomas Del Bec­caro in Wash­ing­tonEx­am­iner.com. Democrats will al­most cer­tainly try to im­peach Trump. De­spite Pelosi’s qualms, the party’s base, and many of its wealthy donors, will see any­thing less than a full-bore im­peach­ment ef­fort as cow­ardly ca­pit­u­la­tion to a pres­i­dent they truly loathe. Vot­ers would hate the pro­longed po­lit­i­cal chaos caused by im­peach­ment, said David French in Na­tion­alRe­view.com, and would pun­ish Democrats for it, just as they pun­ished Repub­li­cans for im­peach­ing Pres­i­dent Clin­ton. But Democrats may not have much choice. If spe­cial coun­sel Robert Mueller pro­duces strong ev­i­dence that Trump col­luded with Rus­sia or ob­structed jus­tice, “it is dif­fi­cult to imag­ine a Demo­cratic House re­sist­ing pro­gres­sive de­mands” to try to re­move the pres­i­dent from of­fice.

All in good time, said Ron­ald Klain in Wash­ing­ton­Post.com. If Democrats want to make the most of this week’s vic­tory, “not a sin­gle sub­poena should fly in the first 100 days” of the new Congress. In­stead, they should draft and pass a series of prag­matic, com­mon­sense bills on is­sues with wide­spread pub­lic sup­port: strength­en­ing the Af­ford­able Care Act and low­er­ing pre­mi­ums; rais­ing the fed­eral min­i­mum wage to $15; em­ploy­ing Amer­i­cans to re­pair in­fra­struc­ture, such as roads and bridges; and grant­ing the “Dream­ers” le­gal sta­tus to pro­tect them from de­por­ta­tion. Pass those, and “then dare the Se­nate and the Trump White House to fol­low suit.”

The Democrats’ strat­egy will largely de­pend on how Trump re­acts to shar­ing power, said An­drew Prokop in Vox.com. He may de­cide that two years of “all-out war­fare” with the Demo­cratic House is ex­actly what he needs to keep his loyal fol­low­ers fired up to re-elect him in 2020. Or he might be “tempted by the ex­am­ple of Bill Clin­ton,” who won a sec­ond term by tack­ing to the cen­ter fol­low­ing his own midterm re­buke in 1994. Ei­ther way, said The New York Times in an ed­i­to­rial, this up­turn in Democrats’ po­lit­i­cal for­tunes comes with “a heavy re­spon­si­bil­ity.” With Repub­li­cans fully bul­lied into sub­mis­sion by Trump, it now falls to House Democrats alone to re­store “some san­ity to Amer­i­can pol­i­tics and a sense of higher, com­mon pur­pose to Amer­i­can gov­er­nance.”

Pelosi: Im­peach­ment no, in­ves­ti­ga­tions yes

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