Liberals achieved much of what they hoped for in the 2018 midterm elections. Typically, these elections are unkind to sitting presidents, and so, on cue, Republicans lost the House of Representatives.
Republicans still retain the presidency, and with it the power to veto progressive legislation conjured up by the House. Even if Democrats can find a ray of partisan support from the opposition, the president can make it virtually impossible to enact new legislation.
The president has the power to “legislate” to a degree using presidential mandates and new regulation just the way Obama did when he lost power. But most believe this is an unhealthy way to govern our nation, and could be deemed unconstitutional.
Trump will be able to follow his instincts in foreign policy. However, if he needs a treaty to confirm deals he makes with foreign leaders, he will have a tough row to hoe. Treaties must be approved by 2/3 of the Senate, an insurmountable hurdle in the current environment. Pending are: a new Iran nuclear arrangement, a North Korean treaty and numerous trade deals around the world.
Of note, the president, with his majority in the Senate, can appoint many more conservative judges to lower courts and to the Supreme Court. Of note, Supreme Court Justice Ginsberg is becoming frailer every day and could step down during the next two years. Confirmation of judges by the Senate was recently changed to a simple majority. These appointments could have a huge effect on our society prospectively.
Democrats have much greater influence with their new majority in the House. It’s worth considering how the acknowledged group of Trump haters will behave as we approach the presidential elections in 2020.
As a general rule, liberal House Democrats will obstruct all legislative initiatives by the Trump administration, even if they would be good for our nation. Of note is a proposed new tax cut for middle class Americans, immigration reform including the construction of a wall on our boarder with Mexico and the retooling of our military.
The budgetary process is going to come to a screeching halt as the political parties fight for their constituents. Obamacare will limp along unresolved, which could materially increase health care costs prospectively. All new legislative initiatives will have a zero chance of becoming law.
The change in control is reminiscent of the situation Democrats found themselves in when Obama lost his filibuster-proof majority, after enactment of Obamacare and the death of Teddy Kennedy (he was replaced by Republican Scott Brown). At the time, Democrats continued to control the presidency and both houses of Congress. But the Senate filibuster proved to be a potent weapon of obstruction for Republicans. During the next six years, Obama was unable to pass any substantive legislation. The president tried to govern with mandates. Many of these efforts turned out to be short term, as Trump abrogated most of Obama’s orders.
Equally important is how Democrats will be busy for the next two years. It’s obvious that their most important objective is to bring down the Trump administration with impeachment (unlikely because Republicans control the Senate), obstruction and tedious investigation of scandal or missteps by Trump. This will encompass his family, his businesses and his confidantes. All will be investigated while the wheels of government simultaneously come to halt.
Current efforts to affiliate Trump with Russia’s attempt to influence our elections will be rehashed. The House will demand to see Trump’s tax returns, even though he is not required to comply. House committees will become more intrusive and demand information about every meeting with foreign leaders. In effect, Democrats will confirm that they don’t trust Trump to conduct affairs of state.
Democrats are going to criticize and intimidate the Executive Branch in hearings and with jawboning in an effort to discredit Trump. They say they want the truth. Don’t believe it for one second. Liberals and the media hate the president and will join hands to destroy his administration, even if it damages America.
The liberal crusaders for justice, truth and democracy may create yet another national crisis. The ability to compromise is an all-time low (excluding the years surrounding the Civil War). Finding compromise is virtually impossible. The suggestion that infrastructure reform could be something both parties could work on together is a joke. The two sides will find reasons to disagree on this desperately needed legislation.
In the future, comity and cooperation that enabled previous governments to do business will be gone for the foreseeable future. Each successive new administration will spend an inordinate amount of time fighting off the opposition, rather than enacting new and needed legislation to improve conditions in America.
At some point, enacting laws will need to change. Already, the power of the filibuster has been diluted, at least for the appointment of judges. It’s likely that filibusters will no longer be a tool of the minority in future deliberations, which will greatly increase the power of the majority. It’s folly to think that a super majority can be mustered at this time on any issue. Congress cannot even enact laws with a simple majority.
The Democrats are in a position to put a dagger into America’s governmental bureaucracy. It’s stunning that the legislative branch of government will be busy trying to take down the executive branch of government.
The only thing that is clear for the next two years is that nothing will be done in Congress. Hopefully, this will not be a permanent condition.