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Campaigner in chief

Campaigner in chief

Campaigner in chief
October 25
12:26 2018

Jesus Sanchez Melean

For U.S. Presidents who are on their first term, the midterm elections are known to be a nightmare. Presidents like Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton, who had obtained strong victories in 1980 and 1992, respectively, saw how their backing party lost the majority at the House of Representatives during the first midterm. The same happened to Obama, Bush (senior), Nixon, Johnson, Kennedy, Eisenhower, Truman, and the majority of presidents in the 19th and 20th century.

We can still remember what happened during the midterm elections in 2010. On that November 2nd, a political catastrophe happened to Barack Obama. The democratic party lost 63 House seats in one night. That day marked the beginning of a hard process for Obama to move forward with his initiatives. The Dream Act and immigration reform became mission impossible after that day. He then had to start ruling by executive orders.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt was the exception in the past century. In 1934, during the midterm elections of his first presidential period, his party, the Democrats, retained their majority and added 9 seats. During that time, Roosevelt was working on a plan of action to get the country our it the great depression and the people rewarded him. More recently, in 2002, a year after 9-11, North Americans rewarded George W Bush’s party with an additional 8 seats at the House of Representatives.

Trump has now two references. The one from Obama, who lost the support of the House of Representatives on the first midterms and began to rule with executive orders. On the other side is the reference of Roosevelt and W. Bush, who were able to materialize many of the plans they conceived during their candidacy. For now, Trump already said that if the party loses the majority it is not his fault. Such a thing would be the responsibility of Paul Ryan, Speaker of the House.

Trump wanted to be prepared in case the worst scenario happens. According to polls that studied the vote intention one month before the midterm elections of November 6th, a victory of Democrats seemed to be likely. Polls said Republicans might lose between 30 and 35 seats in the House of Representatives. With such a negative scenario, Trump spoke up and assumed control of the direction of the campaigns of some Republican candidates to the House.

Trump, now the campaigner in chief, reached over to the best topic he had at hand to energize his voter base. Immigration became the main topic on Trump’s speeches. This time, he had live images to make his case. After seeing images of all those Hondurans walking north, there are many North Americans who conclude that Trump was right when he was asking for the wall. And, crazy enough, many agree with him when he says that along that group there might as well be criminals and Middle Eastern terrorists.

And those voters who blindly follow him want to believe what he says. The problem is they won’t stop and think for a moment and make some calculations. Hondurans are still 1,500 miles away, which is the distance between Huixtla, Chiapas, and Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua. This group of people is walking an average of 24 miles per day. It would take them at least 60 days to get to their destination, the U.S. – Mexico border. Very few believe that this group will make it to the border.

But Trump doesn’t care abut those details. I think he is very lucky. Even if he planned and executed the organization of this caravan, it wouldn’t have been so convenient for his agenda. I haven’t seen polls recently, that might capture the effect of the caravan on the voters. But I dare to conclude that at least in the states on the southern border like Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona and central states like Nevada, there is an increase in possibilities for Republican candidates. He succeeded in energizing his base.


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Edición Virtual | #330 | 17 de Enero 2019

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