After the Midterms, What Next?
With the midterm elections a mere two weeks away, it can be easy to forget that politics will continue as usual afterward. So what will happen once the midterms have been held on November 6, 2018?
Much depends on which party wins the House of Representatives. Republicans are virtually guaranteed to win the Senate, but the House could go either way at this point. Not long ago, the House was considered an easy win for the Democrats. However, the Kavanaugh hearings have woken many fence-sitting Republicans from their slumber, and now control of the House is less certain.
If Republicans keep the House, Trump will likely want to enact his immigration agenda. He spent the last two years enacting legislation congressional Republicans wanted, and in return, he will want them to enact his legislation. If they cooperate, the wall may begin construction with congressional funding sometime in 2019. If they don't cooperate, Trump could retaliate by vetoing any bills Republicans in Congress pass. He hasn't vetoed a single bill yet, but he will use that power if he has to. If Congress still refuses to cooperate, Trump will take his case to the American people. Most Republicans will side with Trump over Congress. If Congress still refuses to fund the wall, Trump might use the military to build it. Congressional Republicans may vote to fund the wall, not necessarily because they support it, but because they fear losing their jobs. The Republican base is getting tired of its leaders not delivering on immigration, and if their leaders don't start delivering soon, the base will not vote for them. A wall, complete or not, will boost Trump's chances of being re-elected in 2020.
Another item on the agenda would be tech censorship. Tech companies have been censoring and will continue to censor the news to prevent "fake news" and "hate speech" from spreading. Congress may pass the Social Media Anti-Censorship Act (SMACA), which would "prohibit censorship of lawful speech on major social media platforms."
A national voter ID law could be implemented, perhaps with the government issuing a national ID card to every citizen. Though many claim that this would be racist, a majority of Americans of all races support voter ID laws. An ID is required for many things. Why should voting should be different?
What if Democrats take the House? Democrats complained that Republicans in Congress wouldn't cooperate with Obama when he was president, but if Democrats regain the House, they will make the Obama era look like a golden age of bipartisanship. Congressional funding for the wall won't happen under any circumstances. There will be increased calls to abolish ICE. Few if any laws will be passed. This will benefit Trump and the Republicans, since they can place the blame for the gridlock on the Democrats. Most importantly, House Democrats will attempt to impeach Trump on the charges of collusion, obstruction, and treason. The Democratic leadership won't want impeachment because it will backfire, but its rabid base will force it to go ahead.
Trump will probably be impeached in the House, with every Democrat voting to impeach and every Republican voting against impeachment. The Senate, also voting along purely partisan lines, will not vote to convict. Such a spectacle will tear the country even farther apart than the 2016 election and the Kavanaugh hearings did. The attempted impeachments of Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton were highly divisive and bitterly partisan affairs, and the attempted impeachment of Donald Trump would be even more so. Trump-supporters will be enraged by the attempted impeachment, and the resulting backlash will carry Trump to the White House a second time in 2020.
No matter who wins the House, there will be more violence and harassment from the left. Many Democrats have been calling for an end to civility – not just ordinary Democrats, but politicians. Maxine Waters encouraged her supporters to harass members of the Cabinet. Hillary Clinton said, "You cannot be civil with a political party that wants to destroy what you stand for" and that civility can resume when Democrats retake Congress.
These words add fuel to an already raging fire. Since Trump was inaugurated:
- Representative David Kustoff of Tennessee was almost run off the road.
- Sarah Huckabee Sanders was kicked out of the Red Hen restaurant in Lexington, Virginia.
- Steve Bannon was harassed at a bookstore in Richmond, Virginia.
- Ted Cruz was harassed at a restaurant.
- White powder was sent to Ted Cruz.
- Ricin was sent to Trump.
- Mitch McConnell was harassed at a restaurant.
Not only have elected officials been harassed, but they have almost been killed. Steve Scalise and five others were wounded while practicing for the annual congressional baseball game. Rand Paul was attacked and wounded by a neighbor while mowing his lawn. At this rate, its only a matter of time before someone is killed by a deranged leftist. And these are just the politicians. Countless Trump-supporters have been attacked and harassed, especially while wearing the red MAGA baseball cap.
The media are responsible for much of this. They constantly demonize Trump and his supporters, portraying them as evil people who want to harm others. There will be many who resort to harassment and violence. And if someone does die, the media will shift the blame onto Trump, saying he created a "climate of hate" where something like this could happen.
And what will happen when Trump replaces a third Supreme Court justice? Any new Supreme Court nominees are likely to be met with even more resistance than Kavanaugh was. What happens if Ruth Bader Ginsburg resigns or passes away with Trump in office? The left's reaction was bad enough when the president replaced two conservative justices; one can only imagine what their reaction will be when he replaces "the Notorious RBG."
Farther along in the future, the 2020 election will be an even crazier version of the 2016 election. Trump will likely win, because the anti-Trump movement has no clear leader, and there is no Democrat aside from Obama who can get Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents to the polls in large enough numbers to defeat Trump. Even farther in the future, the 2024 Republican primaries will be a battle between establishment Republicans such as Nikki Haley and Mike Pence and populist Republicans such as Rand Paul and Ted Cruz. But whomever Republicans nominate in 2024, he will probably lose. Since the end of the Cold War, there has been a pattern where each president serves eight years and is then succeeded by someone from the opposing party for eight years: Bill Clinton, then George W. Bush, then Barack Obama, then Donald Trump for eight years, then a Democrat for eight years, and so on.
In 2024, the Democrats may nominate Deval Patrick, the former governor of Massachusetts. Patrick is black, so he would get black voters to the polls in a way Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, and Al Gore could not. Seeing how successful Obama was at winning elections, Democrats will try to recreate Obama's performance by nominating other minority candidates.
Taking everything into account, the political situation in the United States will grow worse no matter which party wins the House this Election Day. However, should Democrats gain a majority, the country will descend into chaos at a quicker pace, since they will open up investigation after investigation into the president that will hamper his ability to run the country. A silver lining of Democrats winning the House is that they will continue to embarrass themselves and make President Trump look good in comparison. But in order for the president to continue to enact his America First agenda, Republicans must retain control of the House of Representatives.
Thomas O'Malley can be contacted at email@example.com.