What’s in store for the next two years?

Will our divided Congress do the bipartisan dance? Image by The Bipartisan Bridge.

by Dustin Woods
Visionary Columnist

Trumpism is the new right-wing fad, and it's not going away any time soon as the midterm elections last month have shown. As of this writing, Republicans picked up at least three seats in the United States Senate while the Democrats took control of the House of Representatives.

With a divided Congress what can we expect in the next two years?

When we look back through history, we see that periods of divided government tend to be times when significant bipartisan legislation is enacted.

The last time minimum wage was increased Democrats held Congress and Republicans held the White House. The Clinton era tax cuts and adding LGBTQ+ people to hate crimes protection laws were under divided government, but so was the Defense of Marriage Act. Even the Environmental Protection Agency was the result of divided government.

So, should we be expecting the divided government in the Trump era to produce the same sort of results?

Trumpism as an ideology of the populace doesn't give any room for giving up on its core principles like eliminating illegal and slowing legal immigration. That is the platform Trump announced at the same time he declared his candidacy.

I don't see a way for him to change course on his promises of a border wall and the Democrats have already agreed to give a small percentage of the money needed for the wall if they can get protections for Dreamers. If the Democratic House and Republican Senate can come together on a piece of immigration legislation, the President will sign it and call it a great victory for the GOP.

Democrats have talked about protecting the Affordable Care Act (ACA) while the Republicans have voted to end ACA so many different times and ways (it would take a separate article to articulate them all). With a Democratic House, you can expect not a single effort to be taken by the Republican Senate to end Obamacare through new legislation. Those fights have moved to the courts which have been packed by President Trump's appointments that have been confirmed by the Senate.

Watch for activist judges to decide they know better than Congress as to who deserves health care and whether preexisting conditions protections are constitutional.

Infrastructure is another big-ticket item both parties can work on together since the deficit doesn't seem to be an issue for the GOP any longer. They have voted to increase the deficit on multiple occasions in the current Congress, most notably through their large permanent tax cut for businesses and small temporary tax cut for people, the Republicans don't seem to have much argument not to support a large-scale infrastructure improvement project.

Democrats are consistent in their support for infrastructure projects, and I'd expect the House to put forth legislation on the matter.

The “X factor” no one outside of the Special Counsel’s Office can predict is the results of the Mueller investigation. Considering the multiple avenues for negative news for the President and those closest to him, the possibility that a Mueller report becomes a foundation-shaking event for our American government is high. How this will impact our society are hard to predict because of the fevered grip Trump has on his supporters.

When in the past we have found out our President was a criminal the members of his party told him he had to step down from office. I'm not so sure that anyone in the GOP has the backbone to oppose their President even if it becomes clear that Trump has committed high crimes and misdemeanors.

One thing that is clear from the last two years is that a highly organized resistance exercising their First Amendment rights of speech and assembly can influence our representatives to take actions for the benefit of the entire populace, not just the profitable.

Copyright The Gayly – December 18, 2018 @ 12:15 p.m. CST