Midterm implications for Slovaks

Sorry, slow with blogging and yet so much fascinating stuff going on.  Here’s my email interview with Pravda:

1. If Dems will take over at least the House in the midterm elections, do you think they will try to impeach President Donald Trump, or perhaps both sides will try some conciliatory steps?
As for Impeachment, I think it depends very much on Mueller’s report.  If Mueller’s report is particular damning in ways that resonate with the public (something I consider at less than 50% likelihood, but far greater than 0), Democrats will very much push for impeachment.  If Mueller’s report is seen as not particularly, though, or even if it is, but the public does not seem to have an appetite for impeachment, the Democrats will not push it.  I think there’s a clear lesson from 1998 and Bill Clinton that it is to a political party’s detriment to push impeachment when the public is not really behind it.  Regardless of impeachment, the Mueller report could certainly cripple Trumps presidency by further diminishing his public credibility.
Honestly, though, the most important part of a Democratic House majority would simply be for the Congress to provide an important check on the Presidency.  The Republicans have been entirely unwilling to provide any such check, even with President Trump showing very clear impulses towards authoritarianism.  A Democratic House majority becomes that essential check.  Additionally, Mueller aside, there is very suggestive evidence of financial malfeasance in Trump’s past not to mention serious concerns about his ongoing financial concerns that he has not actually separated from his presidency.  To say that Trump presents a target-rich-environment for Congressional investigations is an understatement.  The Democrats will have to try not to push it too far.  But, evidence says you can actually get away with pushing a lot of things too far (e.g., Benghazi).
2. If Reps will be able to keep the control of Congress, what can we expect from Trump’s presidency?
Trump unleashed.  If Republicans keep Congress Trump will feel vindicated in everything that he has done.  Whatever modest constraints Republicans have placed on him (mostly in the Senate) may go out the window.  Expect even more of a white-ethno-nationalist agenda and harsh immigration policies that play to Trump’s base.  And probably willingness to take on popular social safety net programs like Social Security and Medicare.  And, undoubtedly, Trump will push the envelope even more with his seeming disdain for basic principles of the rule of law.

About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State http://faculty.chass.ncsu.edu/shgreene

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