Democrats’ new battle in Congress
After the storm of mid-term elections, the Democratic Party faces a challenging picture, but with the same objective: to hold the president accountable.
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While the country continues to debate whether or not the so-called Blue Wave actually happened after the mid-term elections, the 219 seats won by the Democrats in the House of Representatives are the preamble to a new battle.
Before the final results came in, the leader of the party Nancy Pelosi assured that the Democrats would “show the voters that we are a governing party, not the leftist mafia described by Mr. Trump.”
The campaign strategy of the Democrats focused on downplaying the presidential demagogy and working on getting the necessary votes, something that obviously worked.
However, and as reported by the New York Times, the party has decided to reformulate their strategy for this new stage, placing special emphasis on how to deal with President Trump's erratic decisions, like that of firing his Attorney General Jeff Sessions the day after the elections.
In addition to carrying out their electoral promises (reducing the cost of medicines, investing in infrastructure, and attacking government corruption), Democrats must now "deal with the provocations of a president who relishes confrontation and disdains institutional norms."
David Axelrod, Democratic strategist and former adviser to Barack Obama, explained to the Times that "Trump’s great genius is to try and reduce everyone to his level and approach, and he wants to be able to paint Democrats as single-mindedly bent on his destruction.”
However, Axelrod adds, ballots didn’t ask the voters if they wanted the president to be attacked or defended, despite the fact that many interpreted his exercise as an affirmation of that kind.
"Striking the balance (between both agendas) is going to be difficult", concludes the strategist.
One way or another, Democrats will have to bite their tongues and fulfill their campaign promises, not only because it’s their duty to do so but because following the president's game can be a counterproductive strategy.
The Democratic representative of California, Eric Swalwell, said that the Party must "show the American people that there’s a purpose behind everything that we do,” even when many within his caucus are anxious to hold the Administration accountable.
That comes as no surprise at all, considering the new control of the House of Representatives gives the Democrats a broad capacity to initiate investigations into the president and his administration, which should be carried out with caution if they are to bear fruit.
Although the newly elected representative Elijah E. Cummings (D-Md.), who will become the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman, assured that "I’m not going to be handing out subpoenas like somebody’s handing out candy on Halloween,” Democrats will be able to do a lot from January on.
According to the Washington Post, the party will be able to get to the bottom of the Russian investigation; examine the conflicts of interest of acting Attorney General Matthew G. Whitaker and protect Robert Mueller's investigation; request the president's tax returns; and even evaluate the confirmation of Brett M. Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.
It would seem then that, after two years of Donald Trump's administration, the agenda of the House will require years of work.