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Saturday, September 18, 2021

Beyond impeachment

Trump’s potential to engineer major realignment of American politics must not be underestimated

By: Editorial |
Updated: February 8, 2020 12:52:42 pm
Donald Trump impeachment, Trump impeachment, Donald Trump impeachment case, Trump impeachment case, US elections, US presidential elections, US presidential elections 2020, Express Editorial, Indian Express With no other Republican defecting, the impeachment motion against Trump was easily defeated.

That the US Senate would dismiss the impeachment of President Donald Trump initiated by the House of Representatives was never in doubt. But few had anticipated that it would come amid the president’s rapidly rising political fortunes. The Democrats needed two-thirds of the 100-member Senate to pronounce the president “guilty” of abuse of power and obstructing Congress. Their hope lay in splitting the Republican majority of 53. They just about got one Republican Senator to support them on the first charge. With no other Republican defecting, the impeachment motion against Trump was easily defeated. The real objective of the Democrats was to extend the impeachment trial during the election season and delegitimise the Trump presidency. But they could not get a simple majority in the Senate to call additional witnesses to prolong the impeachment drama.

The Democratic Party had never reconciled to Trump’s unexpected victory in 2016. It has tried to undo the result by any means. Trump has not only survived but come out stronger from the battle, thanks to a thriving economy. His presidential ratings are now higher than those his predecessor Barack Obama enjoyed in the fourth year of his first term. One can argue if the methods Trump has used — gutting environmental regulations, tax cuts for the rich, and trade wars against China and other major economic partners abroad — are wise and sustainable. For now, though, they have given Trump a great start for his campaign to retain the White House.

Although elections are nearly eight months away, Trump’s moment of triumph has coincided with political disarray in the Democratic Party. In the primary season that began this week in Iowa, Trump got nearly 97 per cent support among the Republicans but the Iowa Democrats could not even organise a quick count of the votes cast. When they did announce the results, the frontrunner, Joe Biden, a former vice president, ended in fourth place. Competing for the top slot were Bernie Sanders, a self-proclaimed socialist, and Pete Buttigieg, a former mayor of a small town in Indiana. While the Democrats might yet find an effective challenger, they have barely acknowledged, let alone come to terms with, Trump’s potential to engineer a major realignment of American politics. His war against free trade has helped win support from the trade unions, normally a Democratic bastion. The sustained economic boom has encouraged Trump to make a bold bid for the support of the minorities — African-Americans and Hispanics — that traditionally vote against the Republicans. The much-derided Trump presidency, then, could well go down as a major turning point in America’s political history.

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