The Republican takeover of the House this week will mark the start of a two-year political era that threatens to lead to confrontations and government shutdowns. republican speaker And Democratic President try to exert power at opposite ends of Pennsylvania Avenue.
The unprecedented possibility that former president Donald Trump, who has already launched a new bid for the White House, could face an indictment that could further tear the nation apart at a time when American democracy remains under serious strain. Meanwhile, the already turbulent 2024 presidential campaign will stoke more political toxins as both parties feel the White House and control of Congress are on the line after a hotly contested midterm election.
Abroad, the war in Ukraine poses the constant and alarming possibility of spillover into a NATO-Russia conflict and will test the willingness of American taxpayers to continue sending billions of dollars to support foreigners’ dreams of freedom . As he leads the West in this crisis, President Joe Biden The country faces increasingly evident challenges from the rise of China and the alarming progress of Iran and North Korea’s nuclear programs.
If 2022 was a tumultuous and dangerous year, 2023 could be just as busy.
Washington is preparing for a brutal shock. Since November, the big story is that of the red wave that did not arrive. But the reality of divided government will finally emerge this week. A Republican majority in the House, in which radical conservatives now have disproportionate influence, will occupy half the Capitol. The Republicans will throw themselves investigationsobstruction and possible impeachments at the White House, designed to strangle Biden’s presidency and ruin his re-election hopes.
Ironically, voters who disdained Trump-style circus politics and election denial will get more since the smaller-than-expected Republican majority means acolytes of the ex-president, like the chairman of the House Judiciary. , Jim Jordan of Ohio, and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene. of Georgia, will have a significant influence. The new Republican-led House represents, in effect, a return to the power of Trumpism in a powerful corner of Washington. If House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy wins his desperate fight against his party’s hardliners for the presidency, he will be at constant risk of walking the plank after making multiple extreme concessions. RIGHT.
A weak speaker and a nihilistic pro-Trump faction within the Republican Party threaten to provoke a series of spending showdowns with the White House – most dangerously over the need to increase the government’s borrowing power here the middle of the year, which could shake up the United States. by default if this is not done.
As Democrats become the minority under a new generation of leaders, government shutdowns are more likely than bipartisanship. GOP vows to investigate the president’s son Hunter Biden’s business ties and the crisis at the southern border. The Republican Party could suffer, however, if voters think they have overreached — a factor Biden will use as he considers a second term.
In the Senate, Democrats continue to celebrate the expansion of their tiny majority in the midterms. (After two years of a 50-50 split, the room is now 51-49 in their favor). Wasting no time seeking to build a reputation among voters as a force for bipartisanship and effective governance, President trip to Kentucky this week. He will participate in an event also attended by Republicans, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, to highlight the infrastructure package passed with bipartisan support in 2021.
Attorney General Merrick Garland may soon face one of the most fateful decisions in modern politics: whether to indict Trump for his attempted stealing of the 2020 election and his hoarding of classified documents.
Criminal prosecution of a former president and current presidential candidate by his successor administration would subject the nation’s political and judicial institutions to more extreme strains than even Trump has thus far endured. The ex-president has previously claimed he is being persecuted because of the investigations he faces — and an early statement from his 2024 campaign gave him the opportunity to characterize them as politicized.
If Trump were indicted, the outcry could be so corrosive that it is fair to question whether such action would actually be in the national interest – assuming Trump is indicted. special counsel Jack Smith puts together a case that would have a reasonable chance of success in court.
Yet if Trump did indeed break the law – and given the strength of the evidence of insurrection against him presented at the House committee meeting on January 6, criminal referrals – his case also creates an even deeper dilemma. Failure to prosecute him would set a precedent that would place ex-presidents above the law.
“If a president can incite an insurrection and not be held accountable, then there’s really no limit to what a president can or can’t do,” said the outgoing Republican Party representative from Illinois Select Committee Member Adam Kinzinger on CNN. “State of the Union” Sunday.
“If he’s not guilty of a crime, then frankly, I’m afraid for the future of his country, because now any future president can say, ‘Hey, here’s the bar.’ And the bar is this: do everything you can to stay in power.
Like it or not, with his November announcement, Trump propelled America into the next presidential campaign. But unusual doubts are clouding his future after seven years at the head of the Republican Party. His weak campaign launch, his bleating following his defeat in the 2020 elections and the poor record of his hand-picked candidates refusing the midterm elections have damaged Trump’s aura.
Potential alternative figureheads to his populist and nationalist culture war policies, such as Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, emerging that could test the ex-president’s bond with his beloved conservative base. Even as he fends off multiple investigations, Trump urgently needs to show he is still the Republican Party’s top dog as more Republicans view him as a national liability.
Biden is about to give Americans a new piece of history – a re-election campaign for a president who is more than 80 years old. His success in avoiding a Republican landslide in the midterms eased some anxiety among Democrats about possible re-election. And Biden’s strongest asset is that he has already beaten Trump once. Yet he wouldn’t be able to play that card if Trump faded and another potential GOP nominee emerged. DeSantis, for example, is about half the age of the current president.
As 2023 opens, a repeated duel at the White House between Trump and Biden – who polls showing that voters don’t want it – is the best bet. But political developments, major events in the coming months and the vagaries of fate mean that there is no guarantee that this will be the case at the end of the year.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last year showed how world events can redefine a presidency. Biden’s leadership in the West against Moscow’s unprovoked aggression will be an impressive centerpiece of his legacy. But Russian President Vladimir Putin has been showing every sign of a willingness to fight for years. Ukraine says this won’t stop until all its forces are driven out. Biden’s ability to prevent the war from escalating into a disastrous confrontation between Russia and NATO will therefore be constantly tested.
And who knows how much longer American and European voters will put up with high energy prices and sending billions of dollars of taxpayer money to arm Ukraine if Western economies fall into recession this year.
Biden has his hands full elsewhere. An alarming near-air accident between a Chinese plane and American military plane on the South China Sea during the holidays suggests that tensions in the region, particularly over Taiwan, could trigger a new standoff between superpowers. Biden also faces burgeoning nuclear crises with Iran and North Korea, which, coupled with Russia’s nuclear confrontations, suggests the start of a dangerous new era of global conflict and risk.
Rarely has an economy been so difficult to judge. In 2022, 40-year high inflation and falling stock markets have coincided with historically low unemployment rates, creating a strange simultaneous sense of economic anxiety and well-being. The key question for 2023 will be whether the Federal Reserve’s tough interest rate policies – designed to lower the cost of living – can cause a soft landing without triggering a recession that many analysts believe is on the way.
Fiscal woes in Washington and possible state shutdowns could also pose new threats to growth. The economy will be beyond any political leader’s ability to control, but its state at the end of the year will play a critical role in an election that will define America, nationally and globally, after 2024.