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
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