Can the US Democrats pose a threat to Trump?
Although government business remains practically at a standstill due to the shutdown, both chambers of the US Congress convened today, Thursday, for the first time in their new configuration. The Democrats now control the House of Representatives while Trump's Republicans still hold a majority in the Senate. Commentators explain their theories about how the Democrats should wield their newly acquired power.
Arrogance could harm the Democrats' cause
The Democrats would do well not to make too much of their new political power, Gazeta Wyborcza puts in:
“Their majority in the House of Representatives will allow the Democrats to keep closer tabs on the president. ... The House can also initiate impeachment proceedings that could ultimately depose the president. In today's political reality, however, such an initiative stands little chance of success in view of the fact that the [Republican dominated] Senate would also vote on it. What's more, it can't be ruled out that such an attempt would do the Democrats more harm than good. Because the president could then cast the Democrats as carpetbaggers willing to resort to legal tricks to pursue their own interests over those of the nation.”
Manoeuvring Trump towards the abyss
US expert Frans Verhagen explains the challenges the Democrats face in NRC Handelsblad:
“The Democrats must combine positive politics with critical politics. If Trump loses even his most loyal supporters, the Democrats must show that there is an alternative that offers the prospect of proper government. Until it is clear who will be the Democratic presidential candidates next year, the Democrats will have to put up with the accusation that they have little to offer against the Trump bulldozer. The charge is equally justified and unjustified. In a presidential system it is often difficult for the opposition to show what it is doing. This year is all about helping to manoeuvre Trump towards the abyss. To the point where he doesn't need a push but topples in on his own.”
President paving the way for his own defeat
Current developments make Trump's being elected for a second term unlikely, Handelsblatt's US correspondent Annett Meiritz writes:
“Instead of questioning his own unrelenting populism at least in a nuanced way, Trump is wasting his time fighting on several fronts and seems increasingly driven. ... On top of that several unpleasant situations are looming in 2019. The economic upswing could taper off at any moment; bad numbers could spoil his campaign. And in Congress the president faces a strengthened and highly-motivated opposition determined to investigate his cash flows and questionable dealings. Impeachment remains unlikely. ... But if the Democrats act wisely and concertedly they can ensure that the whole scenario remains threatening.”