Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Moment of truth for the USA

The U.S. political system is at a ‎dramatic crossroads, with American ‎voters in the midterm elections about to decide the fate of 35 out of 100 Senate seats ‎and all 435 seats in the House of Representatives.‎

Since the last midterm elections, in 2014, Congress has had a Republican majority, with the ‎party controlling both houses.

Almost all the predictions are that this is about to change, and predict that  ‎the Democrats will win the majority of the House and say that ‎the chances of Democrats winning a majority in the Senate ‎cannot be completely discounted. ‎

If this happens, the political upset would be in ‎line with the familiar pattern of American politics, ‎which reflects the voters' desire to create balance between the various branches of government and ‎prevent one party from having too much power for too long.‎

However, in the current political and social ‎climate, which is fraught with tension and ‎ideological hostility, any shift in the balance of ‎power on Capitol Hill will have far more significant ‎implications than ever before. ‎

The Republicans are likely to maintain a ‎majority in the Senate and may even gain slightly, but the ‎prevailing forecast – which gives the Democrats at least 23 ‎new seats, and the majority, in the House of Representatives – raises the possibility of an escalation ‎in the political and social hostility polarizing the ‎United States to the point of creating "gridlocks" ‎in the legislative process.‎

On the eve of these midterm elections, the White House ‎faced a difficult dilemma. On the one hand, to try ‎to preserve the Republican majority in the House, President Donald Trump had to adopt a ‎conciliatory and unifying strategy that would ‎underscore the common denominator between different ‎ethnic groups.‎
This was necessary because the vast majority of the ‎electoral districts giving the Democrats the ‎advantage are located in suburban, affluent and ‎educated areas, where the majority of voters hold ‎moderate positions.‎

On the other hand, to win the majority of races for ‎the Senate and ensure the Republicans continue to ‎control Congress, Trump needed to adopt a completely ‎contradictory strategy. ‎
Since most of these races are held in "red" states, ‎such as North Dakota, Montana, Missouri and Indiana, ‎where incumbent Democratic senators must champion ‎clearly conservative positions to have a fighting ‎chance, the president needed to take a harder line ‎to help Republican candidates. ‎

In light of this contradiction, Trump has all but ‎decided to come to terms with the fact that the ‎Democrats will take the House in exchange for ‎increasing the chances of the Republican ‎maintain the majority in the Senate, which, among ‎other things, exclusively controls the appointment ‎of judges to the Supreme Court. ‎

A direct result of this decision was the radicalization of the rhetoric coming from the ‎White House.‎

Trump's harsh statements about illegal immigration, ‎the threat to revoke  the citizenships of children ‎of illegal immigrants, the attacks on media and his ‎aspiration to implement a "nationalistic" vision for ‎the U.S. were all part of this strategy. 

The objective is clear: to mobilize and invigorate the ‎Republican voter base, thus ensuring that the ‎Republicans retain the majority in the ‎Senate.‎

However, if this scenario materializes and the ‎Republicans win the Senate but lose the House, the ‎‎45th president will have to deviate from this ‎puritanical policy and adopt a more pragmatic ‎approach that will ensure compromises with the ‎Democratic majority in the House.‎

The alternative is an ongoing duel in Congress, ‎which could disrupt the legislative process and ‎hamper Trump's ability to govern in the next two ‎years. As things stand, it remains to be seen where ‎the White House is headed.‎

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