California mass shooting followed the midterm elections in US tilting the balance of power in House of Representatives in favour of Democrats, although Trump and Republican Party got some face saving in the Senate. Trump’s press conference after the elections said it all, ‘Trump is angry and frustrated’. The mainstream media was comparing between a Trump who won the Presidential elections with solid back up from Republicans holding both houses with a Trump who has lost the House of Representatives.
Anatomy of the elections in midterm elections has displayed some new trends. There are some of the ‘Firsts’ in US political history; as reported by Global News, voters elected a diverse group of people, many of whom made history as the first person of their race, gender or sexual orientation in their respective races. Some of these historic firsts include first two Muslim women Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Oman got elected to Congress, Omar is the first Somali-American person and Tlaib is the first Palestinian-American person in Congress. First two Native American congresswomen, one of which is openly gay were also elected, Texas sent first Hispanic women to Congress, First black congresswomen in Connecticut and Massachusetts got through to Congress, First woman under 30 years old Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez also made it. In Colorado, Jared Polis won the gubernatorial race to become the first openly gay governor. It is being said that it will be the first time the house will be more coloured than ever before.
Trump had played on populist (white) rhetoric, projecting the immigrant caravan as invaders and separation of illegal immigrant from their kids. The political environment was already marred by pipe bombs posted to residences and offices of Democrat big wigs and media houses as well as synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh.
The hate train driven by the Trump camp before midterm elections is being criticised by the media. Eric Elterman from The Nation (an American newspaper) writes, ‘what is most surprising about the mass murder at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh and the pipe bombs sent to journalists, Democratic politicians, and the philanthropist George Soros is that we find it surprising at all. After all, both perpetrators were acting on messages they had repeatedly received from President Trump and his supporters in Congress and the media’.
The Washington Post’s Aaron Blake traced the ricocheting effect of the Soros-centred conspiracy theory through the White House, Republican representatives, and the increasingly bonkers right-wing media. And it’s not hard to see where these terrorists thought they were getting their instructions.
Even the Harretz magazine from Israel felt the anti- Semitic tone in Trump’s campaign; by saying that Trump’s Last Campaign Ad ‘Has anti-Semitic Overtones’, the campaign video blasts Washington ‘establishment’ working with global special interests – represented by Jewish figures in financial world.
Trump’s populism, highhandedness and divisive politics have created an atmosphere of uncertainty within and outside United States. The loss of House of Representatives to Democrats has added fuel to fire; no wonder Trump took couple of hours after elections to fire his confidant and friend Jeff Sessions from the post of Attorney General. As reported by The Guardian, State prosecutors across the US demanded that acting US attorney general Matthew Whitaker recuse himself from the Mueller probe. A 2014 speech of Whitaker came to light, revealing that he once said he believed that judges should be Christian.
In our piece ‘The Fired White House’ published in the Nation on 7th august 2017, we had analysed Trump’s tendency to fire his staff and how it would impact functioning of the White House. As predicted, Trump has been very consistent in senior firing staff, some of these people were either fired or lack of motivation to work with Trump, Nikki Haley and Jeff Sessions are the latest casualties.
With democrats now in-charge of important committees, Trump’s freedom of action enjoyed through Republican control of both houses will be limited. As pointed out by CNBC, ‘with their regained power, Democrats, who will take over committee chairships, also will be in position to investigate Trump and his administration in a variety of areas that Republicans showed scant interest in examining when they controlled the House. That includes eyeing the president’s campaign contacts with Russians, foreign financial connections to the Trump Organization, Trump’s immigration enforcement actions and controversial spending by a number of Cabinet secretaries’.
Trump’s foreign policy has created ripples in the international system, his trade war against China, sanctions against Iran and Russian Federation, uncouth comments on African nations and somewhat uneasy relationship with the European Union have already made him unpopular in international community. With increasing pressure from domestic politics, driven by aggressive Democrats in the House of Representatives and contest within international arena, President Trump has a hard time ahead. This is likely to usher in a period of more instability within the US and impact her foreign relations.
While Trump may be eying the next elections in 2020, the US establishment has to appreciate that international system keeps running on its course without waiting for things to settle down in America.
We will end the paper by quoting from our previous work on President Trump, published in the Nation. ‘Apparently Trump’s way of governance has been based on a simple theory, kill the problems creating chaos by accentuating further chaos, something Trump has done in his building up of Trump business empire; but, Trump should understand that United States is not a Trump Tower on the Chicago River. International system does not go to sleep during hiring and firing breaks in the White House, and, every day counts in enhancing or retarding the American National Interest. While the world may be disturbed by the chaos in the White House, this perception of instability in decision making cabal of the sole super power would tend to convince the international community that they can do without waiting for a nod from America in day to day business of international relations’.
The writers are freelance journalists