December 14, 2018

Politics Against Trumpism

John Nichols

“Donald Trump has been framing the narrative of American politics since he launched his bid for the Republican presidential nomination in June 2015. A master of media manipulation who utilizes social media more skillfully than any political figure in the country—and perhaps the world—Trump has defined the American discourse by forcing the country to respond to his policy pronouncements and provocations. That does not mean that he has prevailed in every debate; indeed, the president has faced fierce and often effective resistance. Yet, because he and his partisan allies have so dominated the federal government and the media coverage of that government, it has been almost impossible to have a debate about anything other than Trump.

Now, with midterm election results that have upended the status quo at the federal and state levels of American politics, there is finally the prospect that this dysfunctional dynamic could change. Two years into Trump’s presidency, the American electorate has given the opposition to that presidency a vital opportunity to frame an alternative politics. The opening is real. But there is no guarantee that it will be utilized as well or wisely as need be.

The question is whether the Democrats—who will take charge of the House of Representatives and many key states in January—will grab this opportunity and use it to upend Trump and the nationalistic variation on American conservativism that can reasonably be described as Trumpism. If the Democrats fail, due to a lack of ideological cohesion or an excess of caution, Trump will continue to dominate the discourse; the president and his Republican allies could retain and even extend their authority in the 2020 elections. However, if the Democrats succeed, it may rightly be said one day that the end of Trump’s presidency began on the day of the midterm elections: November 6, 2018.”

Thus begins acclaimed journalist John Nichols’ most recent piece for the Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung—New York Office. Read the full piece to learn more about the US midterm elections and what to expect of American politics going forward.