Trump and down-ballot impact

This is not a prediction of Trump’s demise, but rather an opinion on Trump’s impact on down-ballot candidates in case he loses. This election, more so than other elections, is saturated with “complex, layered, and divisive issues”, to use Oban’s phrase.

In the event of a Clinton landslide, it is very unlikely that down-ballot Republican candidates will suffer. The electorate has learned their lesson from the 2008 wave election which by April 2009 had handed the Democrats a filibuster-proof 60-40 majority in the Senate. This combined with 257-178 seat majority in the House of Representatives, allowed Democrats a free reign to run amok. The electorate realized the error of its way and in January 2010 took the matter into their own hand. This led to a dramatic upset, where the thoroughly solid blue Massachusetts, handed Edward Kennedy’s old seat to the Republican Scott Brown. It is likely that the same scenario will come into play this time and with the same thought permeating through several locales, instead of just one as in January 2010, it is entirely possible that the electorate might overdo it, thus handing the Republicans larger than expected majorities in the House and the Senate. The converse scenario is also applicable in case Trump wins, with comments about Trump and his coattails leading the coverage. A Clinton landslide, along with Republican loss of House and Senate, is a view that is simplistic and based on conventional and pedestrian thinking.

If one thinks that thing are acrimonious now, then just wait. A Clinton presidency, with its Court appointments, is likely to lead to liberals controlling the Supreme Court till 2050. Republicans finding their spine by refusing the acquiesce to a replacement for Scalia, is indicative of what the future holds. Garland was nominated on March 16, 2016 and his nomination has remained before the Senate since then. This constitutes a period longer than any other Supreme Court nomination. Atlantic magazine also opines on this scenario.

It’s 2020, four years from now. The campaign is under way to succeed the president, who is retiring after a single wretched term. Voters are angrier than ever—at politicians, at compromisers, at the establishment. Congress and the White House seem incapable of working together on anything, even when their interests align. With lawmaking at a standstill, the president’s use of executive orders and regulatory discretion has reached a level that Congress views as dictatorial—not that Congress can do anything about it, except file lawsuits that the divided Supreme Court, its three vacancies unfilled, has been unable to resolve.

On Capitol Hill, Speaker Paul Ryan resigned after proving unable to pass a budget, or much else. The House burned through two more speakers and one “acting” speaker, a job invented following four speakerless months. The Senate, meanwhile, is tied in knots by wannabe presidents and aspiring talk-show hosts, who use the chamber as a social-media platform to build their brands by obstructing—well, everything. The Defense Department is among hundreds of agencies that have not been reauthorized, the government has shut down three times, and, yes, it finally happened: The United States briefly defaulted on the national debt, precipitating a market collapse and an economic downturn. No one wanted that outcome, but no one was able to prevent it.

As the presidential primaries unfold, Kanye West is leading a fractured field of Democrats. The Republican front-runner is Phil Robertson, of Duck Dynasty fame. Elected governor of Louisiana only a few months ago, he is promising to defy the Washington establishment by never trimming his beard. Party elders have given up all pretense of being more than spectators, and most of the candidates have given up all pretense of party loyalty. On the debate stages, and everywhere else, anything goes.

A parting forecast, if Clinton wins she might have to pardon herself.