Tuesday, November 06, 2018
What Will We See Tomorrow, America's Face or Her Back?
It's unwise to read too much into an American mid-term election. Democrats imagine if they can reclaim the House of Representatives it will mean no end of trouble for Trump as they get a chance to look under the Republican congressional carpet.
What if the Democrats win the House but simply drop the ball? Look at the current House roster. Hardly a confidence booster. There's minority leader, Nancy Pelosi, who is of that vintage that is far more likely to be attending a friend's funeral than a friend's wedding. The good news is that, if the Dems do take the house, Pelosi has pledged to be a "transitional leader" and hand the gavel off to a new generation of leader.
Adam Schiff, former US Attorney for the Southern District of California and nemesis to Republican Devin Nunes, would be a prospect but his skills would be better put to unraveling everything that Nunes spent the past two years attempting to bury.
Let's hope the transition is fast and friendly so that it doesn't distract House Dems from the important job they'll have - if - they take the House.
What if that doesn't happen? What if both houses of Congress remain in Republican hands? Early on Trump told his base that this election is really all about him. Lately he's been backtracking, saying that the election isn't about him after all. However, if the Repugs remain in control tomorrow morning, Trump will be back crowing that it was a ringing endorsement of his brilliant leadership. That's when we'll be left looking at America's back, not her face.
When authoritarians are on a roll, people disappear. If Trump claims the mid-terms as a win for his presidency, people apt to disappear may include attorney-general, Jeff Sessions; his deputy, Rod Rosenstein; and, of course, Robert Mueller and his investigation into the most corrupt president in American history. Trump might also cut loose his remaining generals, his handlers, Jim Mattis and John Kelly, tilting power to radicals such as John Bolton.
As for America's traditional allies, can we expect anything better than the mauling we've had at the hands of the Oval Office bully for the past two years? Trump doesn't see allies. He sees employees who aren't nearly deferential enough to the boss.
We've already seen Macron brand the US a potential authoritarian threat to liberal democracy in Europe, one that, like Russia and China, Europe needs to defend itself against.
In Canada, where the yoke of neoliberalism remains as strong as ever, the Right (Scheer and Bernier) are already toying with illiberal authoritarianism, Scheer making noise about "fake news" journalism and Bernier advancing a full-blown form of libertarian rule. If Macron is worried about the health of liberal democracy in Europe, perhaps it's time for us to worry about the strength of the democratic tradition in Canada, especially with Trump next door and Conservatives begining to ape the Orange Ape.