Trump’s Narrow Victory

U.S. President Donald Trump has reason to be satisfied with the Midterm Election results. His party, the GOP, gained seats in the Senate. This continued majority ensures Trump can nominate and have confirmed federal appointees and Supreme Court judges. Importantly, the GOP majority in the Senate is unlikely to support any impeachment initiative coming from the Democratic controlled House of Representatives. 

Before the midterm elections Trump was unable to unite his own party behind him. After the elections there is no longer the case. Scores of Republicans – non-supporters of the president – decided not to run for re-elections. Republican candidates who did run overwhelmingly supported Trump. This means the “Never Trumper” phenomenon within the GOP is now gone. Two years into his presidency Trump is clearly the head of the party and the party is behind him. 

The Republicans were expected to lose the House. Though there was no “Blue Wave” predicted by many. With the Democrats in control of the lower house Trump’s legislative agenda will face strong opposition from the Democratic majority. It is unlikely Trump will his ideas related to immigration and taxes turned into legislative reality. The Democrats have their own ideas. 

It is very likely the Democrats in the House will discontinue Republican investigations known as “Russia-gate.” Instead there will be a series of investigations into Trump and his Administration. For example, members of the Democratic leadership are already demanding Trump release his past tax returns. 

Thus, political gridlock will not only continue, but also intensify.

It is to be expected many members of the Democratic Party in the House will push for the impeachment of Trump. Since the GOP controls the Senate any impeachment attempt will be more of a political and media spectacle than real threat to Trump and his re-election prospects in 2020. 

Foreign policy did not play a role in this election cycle. In fact, foreign policy has become largely bipartisan. This bipartisan consensus is hawkish and grounded in “American Exceptionalism.” For the foreign policy establishment this election ensures Trump will continue with his antipathy toward such countries as Russia (and many others). 

Candidate Trump wanted better relations with Russia. The foreign policy establishment was then and now against any opening toward Russia from the Trump White House. With Trump expected to be absorbed with domestic affairs and re-election, it is very likely Trump will continue to “outsource” his foreign policy to a number of individuals, particularly his Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Advisor John Bolton. This means more American “unilateralism” around the globe and a very strained relationship with Russia. 

Over the next two years any overtures the Trump Administration may entertain toward Russia will most likely include demanding Moscow make concessions regarding its relations with countries such as China, Iran, Syria and Ukraine. At the same time the Trump Administration will be very vigorous to ensure its allies stay in line and not accept any overtures from Russia. 

With Trump describing the midterm elections a victory, his foreign policy team has the green light to move forward the president’s foreign policy as they interpret it.

Views expressed are of individual Members and Contributors, rather than the Club's, unless explicitly stated otherwise.