For the first time since 2007, the U.S Republican party control the executive and legislative branches of government. Gerard Ball asks where should the Democrats turn their sights?
Following Donald J. Trump’s memorable victory on November 8th, he is now the 45th President Elect of the United States.
Not only does this ensure that a registered Republican will now be leading the White House, but given what has transpired in the race for control of both the Senate and the House of Representatives on that faithful day, the Republican Party now holds a majority in all three positions of governmental power. This represents a crushing defeat for the Democrats and it also begs the question; where does this leave the Democratic Party?
Sticking to the presidency first, the party’s focus will be set on 2020 – the year they will plan to take down Donald Trump. However, as Trump so clearly showed in defeating Hillary Clinton, he shouldn’t be underestimated – and given the manner of his victory, I doubt the Democrats will make that mistake again.
If that holds true, and the Democrats have truly learned from their failings, they will nominate a candidate that spouts progressive populist rhetoric to confront Trump’s very own populism. Trump’s victory was achieved on the back of his insistence that politicians, the elites and the media are all playing their role in ‘destroying’ America. However grossly simplistic that message may be, it resonated with millions of Americans. Hillary Clinton represents establishment politics, something the U.S has seemingly become hostile towards.
There are myriad of candidates that fit the populist bill, but two stand out; Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. Both self-identify as progressive and both are no friends of Wall Street and big banks – something many Americans feel strongly about. Hillary Clinton was often criticised for her ties with Wall Street and regardless of the authenticity of the claims made against her, there are an increasing number of Americans that associated Clinton with the elite, and that was one of her undoings. Warren and Sanders are infinitely superior in this regard, and for that, candidates such as them must be picked to defeat Trump in 2020.
As for retaking control of both houses of legislature, the Democrats will be looking towards 2018 as their opportunity to do just that. As of now, the Republicans hold 247 seats to the Democrats' 188 in the House of Representatives. As for the Senate, the Republicans hold a narrow but still decisive 52-46 majority.
The party that holds the majority in Congress has the power to decide whether they will make much of the president’s ideas become a reality or not – and considering both the Senate and the presidency is Republican controlled, the Democratic Party is in a rather precarious position – they must largely wait until 2018 and 2020 in an attempt to wrestle back control from the Republican Party.
So, for the first time since 2007, Republicans will control both the executive and legislative branches of government. Thus, this will make it infinitely easier for President Elect Trump to pursue significant policy change (such as Obama-Care). One can only hope that, having lost so handsomely, the Democrats will look to the likes of Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders to move the party towards their ultimate goal of retaking control of the U.S branches of government as right now, the party is as far from that goal as they have been for some time.