The wheel of fortune has spun quite a bit in favour of the Democrats, as shown by the 2018 US midterm election results, but not by so much as to give President Donald Trump’s rival Republicans a lasting fright. In the end, the spoils were divided and pre-poll projections proved wrong. The Democrats managed to claw back control of the House of Representatives but stumbled in their quest for a majority in the Senate.
However, notwithstanding these setbacks, Trump’s party came out smiling and grateful even that his supporters had not abandoned him after his eventful two years in office. It is clear that the US president won’t enjoy a trouble-free ride for he will from now on have to contend with empowered Democrats who have the numbers to veto Trump’s proposed laws in the House and possibly open a string of investigations into his administration through the committees under their control. This will certainly test the US president as the Democrats have gained a foothold in Washington from where they can prove an irritant to the Republicans. Not so in the other wing of the US Congress where Republicans unseated their rival party’s senators. There was much disappointment for the Democrats in the more tightly contested poll races.
Any number crunching exercise undertaken to examine midterm victories and losses is the clearest signal yet that the US is headed for a fresh era of divided government. The memory of the gridlock witnessed during Trump predecessor Barack Obama’s time in office is too fresh. Fewer and fewer bills can be adopted and government measures will be stymied. Trump will just have to get used to the gridlock and the close questioning. Also, let us see whether Trump can succeed in unblocking the legislative hurdles that are likely to be placed by the Democrats. Trump will have to find ways to win them over if he wants to surpass Obama’s legislative victories.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 8th, 2018.