Defending the Trump presidency into 2020…
Despite billions of dollars spent and over a hundred million votes cast, the midterm elections gave us little reason for optimism.
The American people head into 2019 knowing that the chances for any major legislation are almost nonexistent. You can forget about a grand bargain on immigration or another round of pro-growth tax cuts. The only safe prediction for our political future is that partisan battles are going to get even uglier, and the shouting on all sides will get louder.
This outlook may be surprising to some, but the 2018 midterm results were a mixed bag. Republicans managed to maintain control of the Senate, which means that the machinery of judicial nomination and appointments will continue. The Democrats also came away with a major victory in the House of Representatives, where they picked up nearly 40 seats on their way to a majority.
For the first time in the Trump presidency, the opposition party will have control of part of Congress. While this is being touted as a “check on the president’s power” and necessary for “accountability” in the era of Trump, the reality comes down to one word: impeachment.
Democrats are unlikely to waste any time once the new Congress is sworn in this January. They will open a slew of investigations and unleash a flurry of subpoenas. Likely areas of inquiry include the 2016 election, Trump’s tax returns, the Justice Kavanaugh hearings, and anything else that fires up the left-wing base. If they are able to conjure up some legal jeopardy for members of the President’s inner circle in between all the gaseous speeches about “protecting our Democracy,” that will be considered a bonus.
Congressional Democratic leadership will spend the next two months finalizing a timeline and strategy for Trump’s impeachment, and all indications point to a Nancy Pelosi-led House. If that’s the case, the Republicans will have to deal with a political figure who is as shameless as she is loathed on the right. Front-line partisans will not extend any good faith to the other side, as they will expect to receive none in return.
Yes, there is an off-chance of an initial overture to Trump and the Republicans on an infrastructure bill or some around-the-edges fixes to Obamacare, but that will likely just be a pretext. No grand bargain will emerge in this political climate, and Pelosi and company will quickly switch from tepid outreach to all-out attack.
Americans who would like to see more constructive governance and efficient administration on all sides should get ready for disappointment. With a divided Congress and a hyper-partisan atmosphere emanating from D.C. across the entire country, it will be an all-out street fight. The economy, health care, and immigration will take a backseat to Russia collusion, Trump’s tendency toward personal indiscretions, and whatever clowns come out from the shadows to be a part of the anti-Trump circus.
For the president, this may not be a bad situation, politically speaking. While he no longer can have any realistic expectation of successfully shepherding a major policy win through the legislative process, Trump excels at rock ‘em sock ‘em politics. The Democrats’ impeachment proceedings in the House may be preordained, but Senate removal while Republicans have a majority is a fantasy. Absent a political catastrophe, the Democrats won’t get to 51 votes to take Trump out of office, never mind the two-thirds that the Constitution requires.
The best outcome from the White House’s perspective will be a sweeping 2020 re-election victory that restores Republican control of Congress and gives Trump a free hand to pursue his more controversial (and central) campaign promises, like building a wall on our southern border. After all, the stadium-sized crowds of Trump supporters during the 2016 election weren’t chanting “cut my taxes.”
In the meantime, political discourse is only going to get more acrimonious. The anti-Trump movement didn’t see the utter repudiation of Trump that they hoped the midterms would bring. They still want payback. And the Special Counsel, with Robert Mueller at the helm, looms in the background, ready to drop a report that could completely upend American politics.
The anti-Trump voices in the media – those who have been warning about fascism and the erosion of norms – will only get louder and crazier. They have a vested interest in the failure of this administration, as many of the largest news organizations in the country have staked their credibility on unearthing a Nixon-level bombshell to bring it all crashing down. If they can’t conjure it from the increasingly flimsy Russia collusion narrative, no doubt the self-styled mandarins of our democracy at the New York Times and CNN will find it somewhere else.
But remember this, above all else: Politics, as the cliché tells us, is indeed the art of the possible.
In the era of Trump, anything is possible.
Strap in, America.
Buck Sexton is host of the nationally syndicated talk radio program, The Buck Sexton Show, heard on over 100 stations across the country. A former CIA and NYC Police Department Intelligence Officer, Buck is also the co-host of Stansberry Investor Hour, a weekly radio show that you can subscribe to for free right here: investorhour.com.