The spectacle of this column of humanity moving north gives the Republicans a nightly party political broadcast as its advance is followed in real time on television
The Independent Voices
American and European liberals have a dream, and it is this: When US voters go to the polls next Tuesday to elect a new House of Representatives and one third of the Senate, the results will sound the death-knell for Donald Trump and all his works.
With the Democrats controlling both chambers of Congress and the special counsel, Robert Mueller, reaching the end of his investigation, impeachment proceedings will be instituted and sooner or later Trump and his court will be out of office. Lock him up, lock him up, lock him up!
Well, maybe. What Trump’s opponents have going for them is the polling, which shows the president languishing with an approval rating of around 40 per cent and Democrats favoured to win seats – and state governorships – that they might not have won in the recent past.
There are also the precedents. First-term presidents tend to do badly in the midterms, as voters seize their first opportunity to register their discontent. Although Bill Clinton left office with high poll numbers, his first midterm Congressional elections in 1994 were a disaster, as Republicans gained control of both chambers.
The Democrats are eyeing something of the reverse scenario this time around. The Clinton analogy is also pertinent because the victorious Republicans then used their victory to pursue impeachment – though the Senate vote eventually allowed him to keep his job.
But there are many caveats that need to be applied here, starting with the polls. It may be that lessons have been learned from 2016, so that the Democrats’ confidence now is well-founded. But anyone who has forgotten how badly the pollsters got it wrong last time around, would do well to watch Michael Moore’s latest film – Fahrenheit 11/9 – for a vivid reminder on precisely how wrong they got it, and how late in the day (not until the early hours of election night, when Hillary Clinton’s supporters were advised to go home) this was all realised.