With his wings clipped, Trump may shift focus
VOTER turnouts during US midterm elections are usually modest affairs compared to presidential elections, and serve as a barometer on how the electorate feels about the performance of the White House incumbent up to that point.
Donald Trump is enormously controversial – his contentious policies and truculent style have variously made him enemies and fans in equal measure – and were sure-fire factors to lift interest in the midterms.
On the eve of this week’s elections almost 32 million absentee voters had already cast their ballots. The elections were also the most expensive in the country’s history, calculated at more than R72 billion for campaigning.
And what interesting outcomes these polls have produced. Historic candidates have changed the face of Congress and state houses. Women, native Americans, Muslims, Latinos, immigrants, millennials and LGBT candidates are going to make their long-awaited debut. However, the 11th Congress will look and sound more like the nation it governs.
And in taking back control of the House of Representatives, the Democrats notched some achievements and now have the power to block many of Trump’s domestic policy initiatives.
Obamacare, for example, now looks safe. Funding his grandiose Mexican wall project may prove difficult. Democratic chairmanship of key committees will mean tougher scrutiny across the executive arm.
The Democratic majority in the House of Representatives, which they wrested back from the Republicans, could also make life miserable for Trump by, for example, requiring him to reveal his tax returns, and subpoenaing the White House for papers relating to the Mueller probe into collusion with Russia during the 2016 election.
They could even commence impeachment proceedings.
For now, Trump will be able to turn his focus and activities on foreign policy. Thus, the trade wars with China, the economic wars with Venezuela and Iran will continue. He has given a hint that he’s also interested in the affairs in this country in his infamous August 23 tweet about “farm murders” and land expropriation.
While it is good that his untrammelled powers have been clipped back home, Trump may shift his focus to his unpopular frolics around the world.
Hold on tight, at least until the presidential elections in 2020.