Gridlock on Capitol Hill, says survey. But effect of racial diversity will kick in soon.


NEW YORK – No doubt, Democrats won the midterm elections hands down. They regained majority in the House, won plenty of seats at the grassroots level across the country. However, the reality is, Republicans strengthened their hold in the Senate. President Trump rules regally in the White House, but with diminished powers to pass legislation. The real result: supreme status quo.

Given that scenario, expect tussle over legislation on Capitol Hill to be as tough as two identical robots engaging in futile arm wrestling matches. And this grim fact is not lost upon Americans.

In a new survey released by the Pew Research Center, on November 15, most Americans think that neither Democratic congressional leaders nor Trump will be successful in getting their policies passed into law during the next two years.

The new national survey, conducted November 7-13 among 9,451 adults, finds that 61% say Democratic leaders in Congress will be unsuccessful in getting their programs passed into law – but about as many (63%) say Trump will be unsuccessful in getting his programs enacted.

Republicans and Republican leaners are somewhat more positive about Trump’s prospects, with 55% saying he will be successful in getting his programs into law.

“And after years of growing political divisions in Congress and the nation, the public expects little improvement in relations between Republicans and Democrats in Washington in the coming year. Most expect partisan relations will get worse or stay the same. Just 9% expect that partisan relations will improve,” the survey said.

Overall, 54% approve of Democratic congressional leaders’ policies and plans for the future, while 43% disapprove, according to the survey. Opinions about GOP leaders’ policies were more divided after the 2010 election, when Republicans won the House, and after the 2014 midterm, when Republicans won full control of Congress.

When asked whether Democratic congressional leaders or Trump “should take the lead in solving the nation’s problems,” more say Democratic leaders should have a lead role. A majority of adults (55%) say Democratic leaders should take the lead in solving the nation’s problems, while 43% say Trump should take the lead.

When a separate group of respondents was given the option of whether both Trump and Democrat leaders should take the lead, a 54% majority say they should. Among the remainder, more say Democratic leaders (28%) than Trump (17%) should take the lead in addressing national problems, the survey said.

Congressional Democrats hold especially wide leads over Trump – of at least 20 percentage points – on their approaches to the environment, ethics in government, Medicare, health care and Social Security. The Democrats are preferred by smaller margins on foreign policy, immigration policy and gun policy.

Trump has a significant advantage on only one of the 12 issues, said the survey: 44% say he will have a better approach to jobs and economic growth, while 33% say congressional Democrats will have a better approach; 22% say there will be little difference.

These opinions are divided along partisan lines, with Republicans generally preferring Trump’s approach and Democrats favoring congressional Democrats.

The survey also reveals that majority of Americans (61%) say the fact that record number of women will serve in the 116th Congress, will be a good thing; just 4% say it will be a bad thing, while 35% say it will be neither good nor bad.

Interestingly, the survey notes that Trump remains the preferred choice for Republicans for the 2020 Presidential elections. Most Republicans and Republican leaners (61%) say they would not like to see other Republican candidates challenge Trump for the party’s presidential nomination in 2020, while 37% say they would like to see a challenge to the president.

Pew also released a survey on post-Millennials on November 15, which reveal that there is increased diversity in America, and portends a more liberal outlook across America in the years to come: the “post-Millennial” generation is already the most racially and ethnically diverse generation, as a bare majority of 6- to 21-year-olds (52%) are non-Hispanic whites. Also, the oldest post-Millennials are enrolling in college at a significantly higher rate than Millennials (now ages 22 to 37) were at a comparable age.

Asians account for 6% of the post-Millennial generation, up slightly from the 4% of Millennials in 2002 who were Asian. The remaining 4% of post-Millennials are non-Hispanics of another racial identity, mainly youth of two or more races.

Today’s 6- to 21-year-olds are projected to become majority nonwhite in 2026 (when they will be ages 14 to 29), according to Census Bureau projections.

Democrats can well despair if they fail to get any traction in Congress despite their good midterms show, and Trump has his way with Executive Orders.

However, growing racial diversity and more educated voters portend that in the near future Democrats could regain control of the Senate and the White House too.

(Sujeet Rajan is Executive Editor, Parikh Worldwide Media. Email him: Follow him on Twitter @SujeetRajan1)



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