USA Politics: Donald Trump’s big test in 2018 | The Economist – video

USA Politics: Donald Trump’s big test in 2018 | The Economist

The Economist    Published on Nov 30, 2017

In November 2018 President Donald Trump will face his biggest political test yet – the mid term elections. The elections are a referendum on the president; his achievements, his ability to govern and the scandals engulfing him. Donald Trump is possibly the most controversial American president of all time. He has antagonised world leaders and stoked racial tension at home and abroad.

Mr Trump has redefined the term “public office”. What would once have been private White House discourse is now regularly broadcast to the world via his Twitter account. Despite Republican control of Congress, he has failed to deliver on his promises. Mr Trump needs the support of his own party to push through his agenda but the last year has seen the president go after senior Republican members.

John Kasich, Republican Governor of Ohio, has seen the effect of Mr Trump’s radical approach. Much lies at stake for his party in the 2018 mid-terms. In the 2018 mid-term elections it’s very possible the Republicans will be able to hold what they have and keep their majority in the House of Representatives, and in the Senate. In the House, the numbers are stacked in the Republicans’ favour, having secured a strong majority in 2016.

In 2018 every member of the House is up for election. The Democrats need to hold on to all their seats as well as gaining an extra 24 to regain control. In the Senate, the electoral map is also stacked in the Republicans’ favour. If the Republicans hold or even increase their majority it will define the rest of Mr Trump’s presidential term. The Trump campaign’s alleged dealings with Russia are being investigated and in 2018 the world will await the outcome of the inquiry. History, however, is against him. One pattern has held true since the civil war. 92% of mid-terms have seen the president’s party lose seats.

Come November, Mr Trump will need to rally public favour. Traditionally presidents will approval ratings of 50% and below do badly in the mid-terms. With Mr Trump’s ratings reaching as low as 34% the likelyhood for significant Republican losses next year is strong. Dissatisfied voters could turn the House and the Senate blue. This would severely limit the president’s ability to pass legislation and effect his change. A Democrat majority could even spark an attempt to bring down the president.

But this is unlikely. Two-thirds of the Senate must vote for impeachment and past attempts to impeach presidents have misfired. A wounded President Trump could see an ever more volatile administration. The most likely outcome is that the Republicans will lose the House and just about cling to a Senate majority. This will cause political stalemate. 2018 may well be Donald Trump’s last chance to make America great again.

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  • Clyde Duncan  On 12/23/2017 at 8:09 am

    Confusion at USA Airports – Just in Time for the Holiday Rush

    Martine Powers | The Washington Post

    Just in time for the peak holiday travel season, D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D) is issuing a not-so-friendly reminder to Transportation Security Administration officers.

    Yes, the District of Columbia is a real place. Yes, it’s in the United States. And yes, D.C. residents can use their D.C. driver’s licenses to travel through airport security.

    In a letter sent to TSA Administrator David Pekoske this week, Norton said she was dismayed to learn that D.C. residents are still encountering problems at airport security using their licenses to board domestic flights.

    She described the latest episode as “humiliating.”

    According to Norton’s letter, a D.C. resident was stopped in the TSA line at Newark Liberty International Airport at Thanksgiving.

    “The TSO [transportation security officer] refused to accept her District license as a valid form of ID,” Norton said. “It is my understanding that other TSOs came over and discussed whether it was valid before letting her through, although the resident nearly missed her flight as a result.”

    Mishaps related to the District’s licenses first arose in 2013, after the design of the ID cards were changed from saying “Washington, D.C.” to “District of Columbia.” The alteration was made so the design of the licenses would conform with the official, charter-enshrined name of the District.

    Since then, TSA agents charged with checking passengers’ IDs have occasionally rejected the cards featuring the new design.

    At times, those agents appeared unaware that “District of Columbia” was the origin of the “D.C.” abbreviation.

    In her letter on Wednesday, Norton requested that TSA managers remind their staff that the licenses bearing “District of Columbia” are a valid form of identification.

    “As I’m sure you can imagine,” Norton added, “it can be humiliating for a U.S.A. citizen to be delayed because a federal government employee does not recognize the name of the District of Columbia.”

  • Clyde Duncan  On 12/25/2017 at 10:36 pm

    Trump’s First Year Was Even WORSE Than Feared

    Eugene Robinson | The Washington Post

    Grit your teeth. Persevere. Just a few more days and this awful, rotten, no-good, ridiculous, rancorous, sordid, disgraceful year in the civic life of our nation will be over. Here’s hoping that we all — particularly special counsel Robert S. Mueller III — have a better 2018.

    Many of us began 2017 with the consoling thought that the Donald Trump presidency couldn’t possibly be as bad as we feared. It turned out to be WORSE.

    Did you ever think you would hear a president use the words “very fine people” to describe participants in a torch-lit rally organized by white supremacists, neo-Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan?

    Did you ever think you would hear a U.S.A. ambassador to the United Nations thuggishly threaten that she would be “taking names” of countries that did not vote on a General Assembly resolution the way she wanted?

    Did you ever think the government of the world’s biggest military and economic power would reject not just science but also empiricism itself, preferring to use made-up “alternative facts” as the basis for major decisions?

    We knew that Trump was narcissistic and shallow, but on Inauguration Day it was possible to at least hope he was self-aware enough to understand the weight that now rested on his shoulders, and perhaps grow into the job. He did not. If anything, he has gotten WORSE.

    By all accounts, the president spends hours each day watching cable news, buoyed by the shows that blindly support him — “Fox & Friends,” “Hannity,” a few others on Fox News — and enraged by those that seek to hold him accountable.

    His aides have had to shorten and dumb down his daily briefings on national security in an attempt to get him to pay attention.

    Members of his Cabinet try to outdo one another in lavishing him with flowery, obsequious praise that would embarrass the Sun King.

    Trump and his enablers have waged a relentless war against truth in an attempt to delegitimize any and all critical voices.

    He wields the epithet “fake news” as a cudgel against inconvenient facts and those who report them.

    Can a democracy function without a commonly accepted chronicle of events and encyclopedia of knowledge?

    If so, we are conducting a dangerous experiment to find out.

    To understand how deviant the Trump administration is, consider this:

    Since its founding, the nation has treasured civilian control of the military as a restraint on adventurism. Now we must rely on three generals — Trump’s chief of staff, his national security adviser and his secretary of defense — to keep this rash and erratic president from careering off the rails.

    The president’s Republican allies in Congress, who have the power to restrain an out-of-control executive, have rolled over in passive submission.

    Many see clearly Trump’s unfitness but continue to support him because they fear the wrath of his hardcore base and see the chance to enact a conservative agenda.

    History will remember this craven opportunism and judge it harshly.

    I haven’t even mentioned Trump’s nepotism — installing his daughter and son-in-law as high-ranking advisers, with portfolios they are in no way qualified to handle — or his inability to staff the executive branch with the best-and-brightest types who customarily serve. The Trump administration is not only transgressive, it is also mediocre.

    The year has been terribly depressing — but not paralyzing. Let’s end on a more positive note.

    The day after Trump’s inauguration, a much larger crowd descended on Washington for the Women’s March, an immense show of resistance.

    That passion might eventually have faded away, but all evidence suggests it has not. If anything, it seems to have intensified.

    In November, Democrat Ralph Northam won the governor’s race in Virginia, a purple state, by a surprisingly big nine-point margin. His coattails were long enough to elect so many Democrats to the state House of Delegates that control of the chamber is still undecided pending recounts.

    And then on Dec. 12, Democrat Doug Jones defeated Republican Roy Moore in a special election for a U.S. Senate seat — in Alabama, of all places, one of the most Republican states in the nation.

    These races were not about D’s vs. R’s. They were about sanity vs. insanity, reason vs. chaos. They were about Trump, and he lost.

    So Godspeed to the Mueller investigation, but let him worry about that.

    The rest of us — Democrats, independents, patriotic Republicans — should work toward the November election. Our duty is to elect a Congress that will bring this runaway train under control.

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