You know Donald Trump is in trouble when the boastful president suddenly said he wished he had taken a softer tone in his first two years as POTUS (President of the United States), just before the Democrats snatch the House of Representative from the Republicans. But it’s too late to have regrets as voters have had made up their mind about their president.
Yes, unlike the 2016 Presidential Election where Trump stunningly and unexpectedly defied all the odds and emerged victorious, this round the Democrats have taken back the house – as expected. The midterm elections’ result is out and the Democrats, more cautious and less arrogant than during the 2016 Presidential Election, has snatched 34 seats under the nose of President Trump.
The win means the Democrats will be able to check the president. The victory will put Democrats in control of the House for the first time since 2010 and the likely return of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi to the office of speaker. Fortunately the Republicans managed to keep the Senate, and even add 3 more seats, otherwise President Trump would be in deeper trouble.
Historically, the party in power would lose some seats during the first midterm election of a new president, especially if the president’s approval rating is low. In almost every midterm since the Civil War, Americans have chosen to put a check on the president by handing more power to the opposition party in Congress. Democrats, for example lost 63 seats in 2010 when Barack Obama was the POTUS.
Still, the fact that the House is lost under a “very popular” Trump, as nationalists and conservatives would like to believe, speaks volumes about dissatisfactionon the president. Not even the booming economy could save the Republicans. Trump himself has campaigned for Republicans across the nation, holding 53 campaign rallies in 23 states, including 30 since Labour Day.
Trump told his supporters in Indiana on Friday – “I need you to vote for a Republican House and a Republican Senate so we can continue this incredible movement,” The first rounds of NBC News exit polls show a majority of Americans – 54% – do not approve of Trump, with a substantial number – 47% – expressing strong disapproval. Overall, 56% Americans said the country is on the wrong track.
It appears that Trump, after rallied fellow Americans to take back their country using a powerful slogan – Make America Great Again (MAGA) – in the 2016 Presidential Election, has failed to use the same trick again 2 years later. He did order more than 5,000 National Guard troops to the U.S.-Mexico border to stop caravan of migrants from entering the country.
However, even his supporters were not convinced that their president was serious about stopping the asylum seekers or migrants. Despite campaign promises to build a full wall, Trump later stated that he favours putting up some fences. Despite promises of mass deportation of illegal immigrants, it never happened. Trump’s response to the migrant caravan was just a “political stunt”.
More importantly, for the sake of financial gains, Trump would disregard not only human rights but also would not think twice about rubbing shoulders with crooks and murderers. Yes, despite knowing Najib Razak was the world’s biggest crook, Trump happily invited the former Malaysia prime minister to the White House, only to be scammed of sweet promises.
Trump also happily supported Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman despite knowing very well that the favourite son of King Salman gave the order to brutally tortured, killed and cut into pieces Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. What difference does that make of American as compared to Russia, whose President Vladimir Putin is often mocked as a brutal leader?
With the Democrats having won control of the House of Representatives, President Donald Trump and his Cabinet members in the White House can expect to be hit by a wave of investigations and subpoena requests from Capitol Hill. There are dozens of House committees and subcommittees, and each definitely has already prepared a to-do list to be slapped on Trump.
Armed with their new power, the Democrats may go after Trump’s elusive tax-returns. They can also check the Republicans on issues such as taxes and healthcare. The Homeland Security Committee will investigate the Trump administration’s family-separation policy. The House Foreign Affairs Committee will definitely consider examining the Trump-Saudi relationship in light of the gruesome murder of Khashoggi.
Heck, the Democrats can even investigate whether Trump was involved in1MDB scandal after Elliott Broidy, a long-time Republican donor, and his wife, Robin Rosenzwei, was exposed of setting up a consulting contract – worth a staggering US$75 million – with Jho Low, the financier fugitive responsible for the biggest heist in the world’s history, as much as US$4.5 billion theft from 1MDB funds.
Of course, you can bet your last dollar that the House Intelligence Committee will certainly get their hands dirty in the Trump-Russia probe, not to mention the Democrats could also pass legislation aimed at protecting special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe. In fact, the Democrats on the Oversight Committee have prepared 64 items in September to subpoena Trump administration.
With 64 subpoenas, the Democrat-controlled committee would be able to grill President Donald Trump until the kingdom comes. The House could even push for Trump’s impeachment, if they want to. What Democrats will do while in control of the House is important because it will help to shape how America voters view the president – through exposures and revelations.
Obviously, with Trump’s re-election bid a mere 2 years away, any humiliating and damaging scandal will affect his chances – that’s assuming he plans to run again. Pelosi has already spelled out her plans for a Democratic majority well before Tuesday’s vote – reduce corruption and money in politics, cut drug prices, strengthen gun background checks and pass legal protections for young immigrants.
But the stock market reacts positively to the expected midterm results. Investors believe that the Washington gridlock scenario – Republicans control the Senate while Democrats control the House – will be the best solution for the market. It allows Trump’s business-friendly policies to continue but keeps a check on the president’s disruptive actions such as the trade war with China.