Today's Politics and the Race to the Extremes

              It sure has been a whirlwind since President Donald Trump took office. The countless executive actions, the immigration ban, the war on the media, the Russian affair, the tweets. President Trump has dominated the headlines from one day to the next. Some of which you may like, love or hate. There has not been a more controversial figure in politics for some time. I am not sure that anyone really knows where a Trump Presidency will lead us, but by now we have had a small sample of what is yet to come. The President is set on implementing his agenda, whether or not the Congress or Court is ready for him.

            But since the day the President took the Oath of Office we have also had a small glimpse of the future of the Democratic party. What we are seeing today is a much different Democratic Party then we have seen in the past. Without a clear ideological leader to set the agenda, the Democratic Party is enduring an inner civil war for the soul of the party. There is a resurgent feminist wave slamming against the Democratic Party establishment, which was left weakened following the scandals and embarrassing loss in the 2016 Presidential Election.

The tight race for the DNC chair was a microcosm of this phenomenon. While the establishment won out with the election former Labor Secretary Tom Perez to the DNC chair, the populist Bernie Sanders movement propelled Keith Ellison to a tight finish. The far-Left will lament the selection of Perez as a continuation of the failed Democratic establishment, and we will see major ideological conflict within the Party over the near future. Just about the only thing the two divergent wings of the Democratic Party can agree upon has been their opposition to President Donald J. Trump.

            The truth is that both parties are undergoing significant changes. Many Republicans have been critical of the President's actions, while the Left has been lacking agreement on the direction of their agenda as mentioned previously. But as time goes by, we will see that the changes occurring within the Parties will complete their growth process and become concrete foundations of their parties. We have already seen the beginning of this change in the fierce Primary battles and during the first days of the Trump Presidency. I believe that what we are seeing today in American politics is a race to the extremes by both Parties.

            Eight years ago when Barrack Obama took office, the direction of the country was up for grabs. President Obama took control and set about implementing his radical agenda. First aided by Congressional support, he later lost the legislative power of Congress and resorted to his executive authority to implement the change he wished to see (you might remember his famous “I have a pen and a phone” line). The most far-left President since Jimmy Carter, President Obama set about trying to change the identity of the United States. While his actions were effective, his partisan initiatives created an even stronger counter-force on the right as the years went by. We witnessed the rise of the Tea-party movement and the Republicans subsequently realized those gains by flipping the House and Senate during President Obama’s second term. Additionally, Republicans held a significantly larger share of Governorships and State Houses than the Democrats leading into the Presidential elections.

Enter Donald Trump. The larger than life, no-holds barred reality TV star who seems to revel in the spotlight. He shaped his campaign to cultivate the support of all those people who have felt left behind by the political establishment. He was the exact person who could capture the feeling that had been building up for the past 8 years. He targeted his Presidential Primary opponents and the Washington establishment with as much zeal as he did the Democrats and Hillary Clinton. He showed that he was willing to make his own path and that he would not be held back by special interests. He culminated his revolution with one of the most surprising Presidential victories in recent years. When Donald Trump stepped into office, he went about beginning to undo Obama’s agenda and implementing his own. Many of the issues which Donald Trump stands so strongly in support of, tend to be much further to the right than what many Republicans could temper in the past. While not all Republicans are on the Trump train, as the President expands the political foundations of the Right, the Party will adjust accordingly.

The Democrats will ultimately follow their own outward populist force to the left, led by the new-age feminist movement. This movement survived the Presidential election by uniting the remnants of the Hillary and Bernie campaigns, the Black Lives Matter Movement, the Anti-Israel movement, Environmentalists and Pro-Choice activists in opposition to Donald Trump. The International Women’s March (AKA the Anti-Trump March, depending on how you viewed it) that occurred on the day after the Presidential Inauguration was the quintessential example of the coalition on the left that is primed to oppose President Trump’s vision of the future. With President Trump’s actions evoking the ire of the Left for the next four or possibly eight years, we are likely to see the anti-Trump movement grow in strength just as the Anti-Obama movement did previously.

But any hopes the Democrats may have of flipping The Congress anytime soon are extremely premature and highly unlikely. In fact, I believe the Republican party will be remade in the mold of Donald Trump, whose populist support will serve to strengthen the power of the President and the Party. You see, 23 of the 33 United States Senate seats up for re-election in 2018 are currently held by Democrats. Included in those Democratic held seats are Florida and the rust belt of Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin, which the President dominated during the Presidential Election. Of the Republican held Senate seats, the Democrats have little chance of flipping Texas, Arizona, Utah, Mississippi, Tennessee, or Nebraska. You could see the Republicans gain a super-majority in the Senate, essentially ensuring Donald Trump’s every legislation of passing. Not to mention, following the Presidential Election the Republicans were in control of 33 of 50 Governorships and had a 33-5 lead on bi-cammeral control (being in control of both houses) of State House legislatures.

Therefore, as the President and the Republican Party stretch farther to the Right with Congressional gains legitimizing the President’s platforms, we are apt to see a strong counter-movement stretching even further to the left. The only way for the Democratic Party to seize upon the growing strength of such an activated populous is to move to the left in concert with the anti-Trump feminist movement. Therefore, I see no other course of action but for both Parties to shift to the extremes.

Solomon Schoonover, Esq.
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