EXCLUSIVE: No matter who wins in 2020, polarization of America is here to stay, say experts
Professors Michael Genovese and John Dinan speak to MEA WorldWide (MEAWW) on a range of issues related to American politics as it stands today
With little less than a year to go for the next presidential elections in the US and the incumbent, Donald Trump, facing an impeachment inquiry, the nation’s politics is witnessing stormy times. Trump and his controversial style of working have left the political stage deeply divided.
A recent survey even said that the Americans have started feeling exhausted with still a year to go for the elections. It is not an easy time for even the best of experts to predict which way American politics will turn the very next moment - so dramatic are the scenes.
MEA WorldWide (MEAWW) takes this opportunity to speak to a couple of observers of American politics to get an understanding of the situation and how it could go for Trump from here.
Michael Genovese, a professor of political science who is the president of the Global Policy Institute at Loyola Marymount University, California, also holds the Loyola Chair of Leadership Studies and Professor John Dinan of Politics and International Affairs at the Wake Forest University, North Carolina and spoke to MEAWW on issues pertaining to the current state of American politics.
Here are excerpts from what they said:
Have Democrats become desperate to impeach Trump?
Professor Genovese, who wrote the 2017 book 'How Trump Governs: An Assessment and a Prognosis', said, technically the president can be impeached by a constitutionally established process of the House of Representatives - by a majority vote. The Democrats have a majority in the House and therefore may end up voting to impeach President Trump. Professor Dinan had an agreeing view on that saying the Democratic-controlled House will vote to impeach Trump given that such a vote to impeach only takes a majority of members of the House. He also added saying the Republican-controlled Senate is expected to vote against removing the president given that a vote for removal requires a two-thirds supermajority of senators. He said since the Republicans hold 53 of the 100 Senate seats, it would require 20 Republican senators to cross the aisle to vote to remove the president from the office which is highly unlikely.
Is Trump at fault in the Ukraine case?
When asked whether Trump is really at fault in the Ukraine case, Genovese said the president asking another country to investigate a political rival (Joe Biden) appears to violate US law that forbids solicitation of anything of value from another nation related to a campaign. Dinan, on the other hand, wanted to give the process more time before a judgment is passed on Trump.
“We are just beginning the public phase of the impeachment process, and many people are just starting to see and hear the full range of arguments and evidence that would bear on the question of whether President Trump behaved improperly and if so whether it warrants his removal from office. These days, public views generally fall along partisan lines, as is the case with many other disputes in American politics, with Republicans and Democrats answering these questions in dramatically different ways”, he said.
Can any of the Democratic candidates really turn the tables around in 2020?
Professor Genovese felt the race in the Dems camp is still in the early stage and for him, the focus will eventually come to rest on Trump as the climax approaches. “As of now, they (Dems) are running against each other. When in the summer of 2020, the race narrows down to one candidate, we will see the race focus on President Trump - strong or weak as he goes to the voters”, he said.
Professor Dinan though thinks there is no correlation generally between the number of candidates in the fray and the party’s chances of winning the election. He said there are times when a nominee succeeds in beating his opponents in the nomination stage while at other times, a nominee can go on to lose an election even after being backed by his/her party. The size of the Democratic fray doesn’t really mean anything, he added.
Could Hillary still be a force this election?
On the question of whether the former secretary of state Hillary Clinton will run for the presidency one more time, both the professors sounded pessimistic. According to Genovese, Hillary has no realistic chance to get the Democratic nomination and he said she already had her chance and the Democrats have moved on.
Dinan was also convinced that it is unrealistic if Hillary enters the fray now but for him, the reason was more technical. Although people like Michael Bloomberg and Deval Patrick have yet joined the race for the Democrats, Dinan said it is very difficult for new candidates to enter the race this late.
Who could win the Democratic nomination race?
On whether they feel any particular Democratic candidate has a better chance of bagging the nomination for 2020, both Genovese and Dinan expressed reservation. The former said though Biden and Elizabeth Warren are among candidates who are going strong but the primary season is a long one to predict a winner right away. Dinan also felt it is too early now to make a prediction but he cited a pattern saying since the mid-1990s, the Democratic candidate who wins the Iowa caucuses (February 3) - the first big test - has gone on to bag the nomination.
What if Trump gets another four years in office?
For Genovese, Trump will be able to make the Republican Party and the Supreme Court to his preferences besides pulling America out of global leadership while continuing to focus on “America First” foreign policy. He said the country will lean further right politically.
Dinan, on the other hand, predicted no matter who wins the 2020 elections, the US will remain polarized along partisan lines and the president will find it challenging to pass legislation. “We are already seeing this challenge of governing at the current time, where there is little expectation that any significant legislation will pass Congress in 2019 or 2020, because the parties are so divided and also relatively evenly matched”, he said, expressing little confidence that the prevailing polarization in the American politics can be wished away through results of just one election.