America, Don’t Expect Much Until 2020



Josh Lehrer

Since the inauguration of the 45th president, there has been nothing but dysfunction and ensuing controversy in Washington, D.C. Not much hope remains for our federal government until the elections of 2020 come around.

We needn’t repeat all the flagrant abuses of power that Donald J. Trump has committed since becoming president; we are bombarded daily with new scandal or mishap to remind us of the severity of the predicament. It’ll only inflict more disillusionment and disdain to go down the list. Nevertheless, Mr. Trump is so reckless, irresponsible, and dangerous that he is jeopardizing our fragile democracy. Combining Trump and president into the same title is not deserved, at least at the time this article was written.

Other than the confirmation of Justice Neil Gorsuch–which any Republican-programmed puppet could have done–what does Trump have to show for his bellicose claims that he “alone can fix it?” Has he “grown into” his role as the Commander-in-Chief of the United States? Has he come close to upholding the values our nation cherishes? Has there been more than a week that goes by without the current occupant of the Oval Office fomenting hate or having a temper tantrum?

For the most part, his authoritative impulses have been remarkably contained by our constitutional democracy. Despite the Union being in such a frail state of affairs, our democratic institutions are proving to be profoundly resilient. Additionally, there are some American heroes out there who want to help guide our country toward what it’s meant to be: a beacon of hope, prosperity, and love for our fellow man.

Now we can see this more so as a few Republican legislators in both chambers finally put country over party. They’re slowly beginning to recognize that any agenda momentum has come and went, and that all that remains is Donny Trump’s Great White House Carnival Show. They’re seeing that they enabled and nurtured a true monster.

While some Republicans are standing up to Trump’s incompetence, there aren’t nearly enough within our federal government to save us from The Don anytime soon. And that leads back to the bad news: we’re going nowhere until at least 2020. The majority of Americans will live out these next three years in fear, uncertainty, and relative disgust–regardless of how they voted in 2016 or how they vote in 2018. Protests will continue, government neglect will metastasize, inaction will beget inaction, immigrant families will unceasingly be torn apart, “Dreamers” may very well be deported en masse, and the “us versus them” mentality will only grow more tribal. We’ll be lucky to keep the lights on.

The 2018 federal election season will not change anything significantly. Worse, it’ll serve to effectively keep Americans divided and spiteful toward one another. This is because of the upper chamber of Congress, the U.S. Senate. Even if the GOP loses power of one or both chambers of Congress, there is no reason to believe Trump will dance with the Democrats too much. Alas, nothing but gridlock will continue. It’s thus nearly impossible to see the Senate reaching the 60-40 vote threshold needed to pass any influential and meaningful laws.

But, that’s how “checks and balances” work. The filibuster is there to suppress the extremists’ ability to wreak too much havoc. Even the 51-vote majority needed to get anything done has already proven immensely helpful in averting too much harm to a large swath of Americans. Despite Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell attempts to find ways around the filibuster, more moderate, truly brave Republicans stifled any hard-line efforts to, for example, take health care away from more than 20 million Americans.

Sure, if the Democrats achieve a majority in the U.S. House of Representatives in 2018, they can pass symbolic bills. But unless a disaster of unprecedented magnitude unites them, Democrats and Republicans in the Senate won’t be able to come together to pass any bill, nor will the president offer his signature on it’s final version to make it law. That’s American Government 101.

How about that fantasy of impeachment? Stop dreaming, because it’s nearly impossible it’ll happen. Unless Trump is found to be a true Russian pawn or his tax returns for 2017 show he is personally profiting from his private business while president, there will not be enough senators willing to vote him out of office. You don’t need ⅗ of the Senate even, but a larger ⅔ of it to do so. And that’s after a majority in the House of Representatives issues the necessary Articles of Impeachment. Furthermore, even if we entertain the idea of Trump being successfully impeached or ousted by the 25th Amendment, it is highly unlikely that anything of substance will come to fruition under a brief stint by Vice President Mike Pence, either.

As Benjamin Franklin once put it, we would have “a republic,” but only if we “can keep it.” There will be nothing but mayhem until 2020 for what is supposed to be the United States of America. That is, if we can make it that far.