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Donald Trump’s big test in 2018 | The Economist

Donald Trump will face his biggest test as president in November 2018. A bad result in the mid-term elections could lead to his impeachment. Can Mr Trump unite and rally Republican voters?

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In November 2018 President Donald Trump will face his biggest political test yet – the mid term elections. The elections are a referendum on the president; his achievements, his ability to govern and the scandals engulfing him.

Donald Trump is possibly the most controversial American president of all time. He has antagonised world leaders and stoked racial tension at home and abroad. Mr Trump has redefined the term “public office”.

What would once have been private White House discourse is now regularly broadcast to the world via his Twitter account.

Despite Republican control of Congress, he has failed to deliver on his promises. Mr Trump needs the support of his own party to push through his agenda but the last year has seen the president go after senior Republican members.

John Kasich, Republican Governor of Ohio, has seen the effect of Mr Trump’s radical approach. Much lies at stake for his party in the 2018 mid-terms.

In the 2018 mid-term elections it’s very possible the Republicans will be able to hold what they have and keep their majority in the House of Representatives, and in the Senate.

In the House, the numbers are stacked in the Republicans’ favour, having secured a strong majority in 2016. In 2018 every member of the House is up for election. The Democrats need to hold on to all their seats as well as gaining an extra 24 to regain control.

In the Senate, the electoral map is also stacked in the Republicans’ favour. If the Republicans hold or even increase their majority it will define the rest of Mr Trump’s presidential term.

The Trump campaign’s alleged dealings with Russia are being investigated and in 2018 the world will await the outcome of the inquiry.

History, however, is against him. One pattern has held true since the civil war. 92% of mid-terms have seen the president’s party lose seats. Come November, Mr Trump will need to rally public favour. Traditionally presidents will approval ratings of 50% and below do badly in the mid-terms. With Mr Trump’s ratings reaching as low as 34% the likelyhood for significant Republican losses next year is strong.

Dissatisfied voters could turn the House and the Senate blue. This would severely limit the president’s ability to pass legislation and effect his change. A Democrat majority could even spark an attempt to bring down the president.

But this is unlikely. Two-thirds of the Senate must vote for impeachment and past attempts to impeach presidents have misfired. A wounded President Trump could see an ever more volatile administration.

The most likely outcome is that the Republicans will lose the House and just about cling to a Senate majority. This will cause political stalemate.

2018 may well be Donald Trump’s last chance to make America great again.

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