Friday, 10 January 2020

Predictions For 2020 - Prediction 5 – Democrats Gain Control of Presidency and Congress

Its hard to say who will be the Democratic Presidential candidate. Biden has the backing of the party machine, as did Clinton in 2016. But, that turned out badly for the Democrats in the general election, and the party has changed since 2016. Biden has the lead in most polls, and is seen as the candidate with potentially the best chance of beating Trump. But, then, the polls show nearly all the Democratic candidates beating Trump, so Biden's advantage there is not significant. Biden has a lot of baggage, and is opposed by the Left in the party. The Left's candidates are Sanders and Warren. Warren had a surge in recent months, but, as she came more under the spotlight, and Sanders heart attack faded from the headlines, he has come back to be more or less level pegging. If Left support was not divided between them, support for a Left candidate would probably be greater than that for Biden. There are still a lot of other candidates in the race, whose support is yet to be divided amongst the front-runners, assuming that one of them does not come from nowhere as Obama did in 2008. 

My money is probably on Warren, though it would make sense for her and Sanders to try to do some kind of deal, one choosing the other as running mate. Together, and with the new dynamism of the young members of the party, like Alexandra Ocasio de Cortes, behind them, and being lined up for future contenders, the Democrats can having a storming win not only in the Presidential election, but also in the Senate and House races too. The right-wing and liberal media establishment in the US have tried to use the defeat of Corbyn as a lesson for the Democrats not to go down a similar left-wing path. Its nonsense, and had little traction. Of course, even Sanders is not proposing anything like the kind of progressive social-democratic agenda that Corbyn proposed. 

Besides, the fact that the failure of Corbyn had nothing to do with putting forward a progressive social-democratic agenda, but was the result of his disastrous pro-Brexit stance, whilst trying to hold on to a massively anti-Brexit Labour vote, the adoption of social-democratic policies by the Democrats, and their more radical advocacy by the new young dynamic members of the party, has proven very successful. In a whole host of local elections, radical Democrats have won; the Democrats won a majority in the 2018 House elections, and made advances in the Senate elections, though not overturning the Republican majority. In a series of bye-elections, in areas where Trump had a majority in 2016, the Democrats have won, and often it has been younger, more radical Democrats that have won these seats. 

Trump lost the popular vote in 2016 by 4 million votes. He only won, because of the operation of the Electoral College, and the fact that, in a small number of states, Trump won wafer thin majorities, whilst larger majorities against him piled up in other states. Its similar to what happened to Labour in Britain, piling up large numbers of young working-class votes in cities, but losing in decaying towns, still occupied by elderly voters.  The Democrats, with a much larger and more active base, are likely to prevent that happening this time around. Their organisation and ground support, in all those areas where they have already won local elections, can be turned to their advantage in mobilising the anti-Trump vote, and, today, there are many people who have reason to hate Trump and turn out to vote against him. Moreover, Trump has turned the Republican Party into the Trump Party, much as the Brexiters have turned the Tory Party into the Brexit Party. Republican Senators and representatives are now tied to the fortunes of Trump, and they are likely to sink with him. 

For the first time in many years, we are likely to see a Democrat controlled Presidency and Congress in both houses. It is possible that Trump might do what he said he would do prior to the last election, and try to refuse to accept the result. There are a large number of heavily armed Trump supporters who might attempt to back him. Nearly all of the privately owned arms in the US are owned by a small minority, and they are concentrated in right-wing organisations.  Ensuring that Trump's defeat is comprehensive is, therefore, important, to try to prevent any such attempt. One reason that Trump and his supporters might try to refuse to accept the result of the election is that, once out of the White House, Trump is likely to face further investigation, without the privileges he currently enjoys. He may well face criminal prosecution. If Democrats control both houses of Congress, the chances of that are even greater, but its also likely that the investigation undertaken by Robert Mueller, which only failed to take legal action against Trump, because he is President, will re-emerge. It will go along with further investigation of the role of Putin and the Kremlin into the 2016 elections. 

That means that the connections between these Alt-Right forces, Trump, Putin and other Russian oligarchs will start to be exposed. It means that those connections, which have also been exposed with organisations such as Breitbart, Cambridge Analytica, as well as with the various pro-Brexit forces in Britain, and various right-wing nationalist groups across Europe will be exposed. Johnson and the Tories are likely to have a tumultuous year in 2020 trying to hold together their Brexit position, as it comes up against the reality of negotiating with the EU, but, in 2021, they may face even greater problems, as the links between right-wing, Brexit-backing Tories and the Russians, such as those that provided hundreds of thousands of Pounds of financing, come under the spotlight. 

A Democrat controlled Presidency and Congress may not change much in relation to Trump's trade policy. Sanders and Warren share a large part of Trump's economic nationalism, when it comes to relations with China, for example. But, they are more likely to pursue that policy via a rebuilding of international organisations such as the WTO, and in conjunction with others, such as the EU, than via the imposition of unilateral sanctions, especially sanctions on the EU. A Democrat controlled Presidency and Congress is likely to try to undo the damage caused by Trump in relation to US allies, such as the EU. As proponents of the interests of large-scale US industrial capital, and its multinational corporations, the Democrats will want to restore the relation with the EU, where many of those corporations have large-scale operations. That will put a Tory Brexit Britain in a difficult position, particularly if, under Johnson, Britain has increasingly cut its ties to the EU, in pursuit of a short-term chasing after Trump. 

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