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Daniel L. Gardner

The Republicans couldn’t do it when they controlled Congress and the White House. OK, “controlled” may be overstating any kind of management in Washington. Now the House has a majority of Democrats, meaning the speaker and all committee chairs are Democrats who set their own agendas. Pundits and politicians are predicting what changes we’ll see and how those changes will affect America and the world.

Will President Donald Trump change how he acts and communicates? No. Will he change his mind when trying to make deals with Congress? Yes. Those who make deals change their minds and their bargaining chips fluidly.

Will the changes in the House affect Congress’ ability to pass bills? The answer really depends more on Trump’s willingness to deal with Democrats in the House who, so far, have directed all their promises against all things Trump.

Republicans picked up two more seats in the Senate for a majority of 53 senators. The Senate is likely to continue approving Trump’s judicial and cabinet nominations, and generally align with Trump’s policies. Thus, the Senate will be a “wall” protecting Trump from any House legislation attacking him personally.

Nevertheless, the bureaucracy remains as swampy as ever, particularly in the upper echelons of the Department of Justice and the various intelligence agencies. Make no mistake: the bureaucracy holds the real power in Washington. Special interests groups buy, sell, and trade legislation as well as rules and regulations inside the bureaucracy.

The biggest change is likely to be louder, expletive-laced and angrier rhetoric from the left. After all, the show must go on! New faces in the House have already stooped to new lows publicly, much to the delight of ratings-starved media. Game on! How low will they go? Regardless, they’ll all justify their expletives and hate with adolescent rejoinders of “Trump started it!” Very mature!

We will probably see no real differences coming out of Washington between now and 2020. But we will see a lot more sound and fury as well as smoke and mirrors playing out in national media.

What about foreign relations? America is in a much stronger position economically and militarily than any of our allies or enemies. Neither our allies nor our enemies like us as much as they did under the previous administration, but they respect our power much more now that we have an administration focused on making America economically stronger, and less interested in solving other nations’ problems at our own expense.

The world will rock on for the next two years with other nations trying to project power over vulnerable and unstable territories. The usual suspects — Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea — will see how close they can fly to America’s flame without getting burned. Islamic jihad will continue to grow and spread across Europe and hotspots of the world. America will likely see isolated Islamic terrorist attacks. Domestic violence in America will likely increase as a by-product of what everybody agrees is really bad immigration law.

Unless we see another 911-type event in America, most Americans will continue to experience the ups and downs as well as good things and bad things that come with being human. Washington’s shenanigans will likely not adversely affect any of us except those who obsess about Washington shenanigans.

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Daniel L. Gardner is a syndicated columnist who lives in Starkville, Mississippi. You may contact him at or interact with him on the Clarion-Ledger website


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