The next two years are probably going to represent the loudest, most toxic lame duck Presidency in United States history. With Democrats targeting some 85 investigations of Trump and the White House, and without control of both chambers of Congress, Trump is basically going to be limited to yelling conspiracy theories on Twitter and trying to make gains in foreign policy, which may be difficult because — two years into his Presidency — European leaders hate him and Trump still doesn’t know the difference between the Balkans and the Baltic states (all the more ironic because his wife is from the former Yugoslavia).
In today’s @lemondefr: When #Trump received the leaders of #Estonia, #Latvia and #Lithuania, he began by blaming them for the war in Yugoslavia. It took them a few moments to realise he’d mixed up the Balkans and the Baltics. @SylvieKauffmann pic.twitter.com/HYQYpbqgGs— Mark Lowen (@marklowen) November 10, 2018
Without the ability to push policy, Trump is almost certainly going to make the next two years about “the fight,” and continue to try and rally his base, a strategy that clearly backfired in the midterms, where every day reveals how much worse the beating the GOP took was. Sure, he got rural voters to the polls, but he not only lost the suburban vote, he energized the suburban vote against him, and while Democrats lost a couple of seats in the Senate, the 2020 map is heavily tilted against the Republicans (23 GOP seats up for grabs, compared to 11 Democrat seats). And if there’s one thing that the midterms illustrated, it’s that running with Trump is perilous. You can win in places like Alabama and Mississippi by running with Trump, but it’s a recipe for disaster in the Midwest and Northeast (we’re looking at you, Susan Collins), so even some Republicans in the Senate will be forced to push back against Trump to save their own reelection efforts (we’re looking at you, Susan Collins).
The point is, expect Trump to spend the next two years fighting with the press (because it gets headlines), floating conspiracy theories (like suggesting that military and overseas ballots are illegal and shouldn’t be allowed in Florida), and drifting further and further away from the truth and further into deranged lunacy, especially as the investigations get underway and his son faces possible indictment.
And the thing is, though the media still hasn’t figured out how to deal with Trump (“Hey! Trump said something stupid with no basis in fact! Let’s lead with it, and see who we can find that supports it!”), it looks like the voters, at least in the sane areas, have figured him out. When Trump makes up shit about elections, we ignore it (and Florida and Arizona — which have GOP Secretaries of State — seem to be doing that for the most part), and when a little bit of rain prevents him from Trump from attending a ceremony for veterans, we clobber him for that, too.
You see this tweet over the weekend?
There is no reason for these massive, deadly and costly forest fires in California except that forest management is so poor. Billions of dollars are given each year, with so many lives lost, all because of gross mismanagement of the forests. Remedy now, or no more Fed payments!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 10, 2018
I went through its replies to try and find the usual Trump apologists. I couldn’t find any. There are some things where there just isn’t another side. Likewise, there was no other side that said, “Trump was totally in the right for bailing on the visit to the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery” while other world leaders had no problem arriving.
Look: There’s still a huge divide in this country, but if midterms made one thing perfectly clear: We’re divided between smart, sane people who can ferret out the truth through all the noise and people who buy Trumpy bears.
I can't believe this commercial that just ran on Fox News is for real pic.twitter.com/gGInt8BKhp— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) November 12, 2018
Yes, that is an actual commercial.
I like our chances over the next two years.
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