It looks so clear again. Donald Trump is in crisis; America’s (liberal) media are reporting around the clock on the new book by Bob Woodward and the chaos in the White House. Even former President Barack Obama is attacking his successor. Trump and his Republicans are threatened with disaster in the important midterm elections. The Democrats could at least conquer the House of Representatives, maybe even the Senate. That’s the general reading of the situation.
Actually, there’s a lot to talk about: the mood in the polls, where Republicans are almost 14 percent behind the Democrats; the historical experience that tells us that the president’s party is usually punished by voters in the midterms; the extremely high motivation among the Democratic candidates; and supporters who absolutely want to teach Trump a lesson.
But is the matter really so easy? Has Trump already been defeated?
As always, in the Trump age, it is advisable to keep a healthy dose of skepticism. The risk that it will turn out entirely differently for the Democrats and that Trump and the Republicans will win on Nov. 6 has not been averted. Trump and his strategists are trying to turn their current weaknesses into strengths during the last weeks before the election. By branding the Woodward book and reports of an anonymous resistance group in the government as further attempts to overthrow the president, they want to motivate their base to go to the polls.
It’s all about electoral turnout. It’s very low in the U.S., especially in midterm elections, at about 40 percent. The more people turn out to vote on Trump on Nov. 6, the more voters could go to the polls on the side of Democrats, and give their congressional candidates important points. But the same is true for Trump’s followers. If they go en masse to protect “their president,” it could be tight for the opposition.
Trump Will Prevail through Victory
A victory by Trump, that is the nightmare scenario. The president would then regard the defense of the Republican majority in both houses of Congress as a confirmation of his politics -- and that would be it.
Any remaining scruples he may have left would disappear. Trump could finally do all of the things he’s been shying away from so far. He would probably fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller. He would kick Attorney General Jeff Sessions out the door, and he could use the state apparatus ruthlessly against his critics and opponents in the media.
Who should stop him, then? The Republicans have already completely submitted to Trump’s will. And without their own majorities, the Democrats would have virtually no opportunity to control this president through Congress. Therefore, on Nov. 6, it’s really about all or nothing. It’s hard to believe, but America may be just a choice away from autocracy.