On Tuesday, American voters will give the president his first official performance review. There will be no opportunity to tell Donald J. Trump ‘You’re fired!’ in the reality TV verbiage he relishes – that will have to wait two more years – setbacks for the Republicans in Congress will inevitably be interpreted negatively for The Donald, who has pulled out the stops exhorting his loyal fanbase to the polls on November 6.
But will it happen? American political history is filled with stern midterm rebukes for presidents, especially Democrats who get ahead of their skis like Bill Clinton in 1994 or Barack Obama in 2010, when their party lost 54 and 63 seats in the House of Representatives, respectively.
Few expect such a historic setback to hit the GOP this year, though broad Beltway consensus has it that the Republicans may well lose control of the House, where the opposition needs to win only 23 seats to ‘get gavels’ as Hill wonks put it.
That’s an alarming prospect for the beleaguered White House, since Democratic control of committees, above all the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, promises subpoenas and investigations of President Trump’s Kremlin ties beyond the existing Special Counsel inquiry led by Robert Mueller for the Justice Department. For the last two years, the Republican-controlled HPSCI, chaired by the obsequious Rep. Devin Nunes, a full-bore Trumpist, has kept that powerful committee off Trump’s back.
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