While Congress evaluates possible violations of the president's law, two local elections in which he got involved favored his main rivals, the Democrats.
On Tuesday night, before hundreds of militants who kept applauding, the young Democratic lawyer Andy Beshear celebrated his most recent electoral victory: he will be the new governor of Kentucky, in the east of the United States.
Beyond the inhabitants of this state and the enthusiasts of American politics, this local election may prove inconsequential. However, there is a reason why these elections and their outcome are being discussed beyond that territory.RELATED
This contest, between Beshear and Republican Matt Bevin, who was seeking re-election, was almost exclusively about President Donald Trump and the dilemma of whether or not Kentucky citizens endorse his type of political leadership.
Since his surprise victory in 2016, the real estate mogul has managed to dominate the conversation of his party, the Republican, to the point of transforming it into an organization dedicated to his defense, far from being the institutionalized instrument with a long history and an important internal debate.
Even the most moderate and experienced Republican politicians have found themselves in a difficult position when they intuit that Trump's most controversial positions will bring a high political cost in the medium or long term but today they are still legitimized by the president's popularity.
Therefore, the re-election campaign of the Kentucky governor, Matt Bevin, revolved around defending Trump's policies and the latter participated in a rally on Monday, the day before the election, where he asked the state Republicans " show who we are. "
The president was aware that his call had weight. Only three years ago, on the day he was elected, he obtained 62.52% of the votes in this state, out of 32.68% of his rival, Hillary Clinton, who expected a closer battle in this state.
The citizens of Kentucky gave massive support to Trump at the time. So much so that in corners like Elliott County an aspiring Republican president won for the first time in 150 years. In addition, he achieved the greatest Republican victory in Kentucky since Richard Nixon in 1972.
With this background on his side, the president was confident that his endorsement of Bevin would result in a victory. The latter stopped talking about local problems in his state and dedicated his campaign to highlighting his link with the president. His rival did the opposite.
However, Tuesday night was bitter for Bevin, Trump and the Republican party. The 41-year-old Democrat, Andy Beshear, won 49.2% of the vote (versus 48.8% of his Republican rival) and accepted the victory, while saying that “Kentucky voters sent a message (…) that unites us in this state it is bigger than the national divisions. ”
Beshear won, yes. But not only Bevin lost, but also Trump.
On the other hand, in the state of Virginia, in another special election the Democrats were controlled by the state Senate and the State House of Representatives. Since the governor, Ralph Northam, is also from this party, they have full control of the government, something that has not happened since 1994.
The cost of political judgment
This election not only represented a one-year examination of the Trump administration to seek his re-election, but also a test during the political trial process.
On September 25, the president of the Lower House of the Federal Congress, Nancy Pelosi, announced the opening of a procedure of impeachment against the president for alleged personal use of his power as president.
This, after it transpired that the president pressured his Ukrainian counterpart, Vladimir Zelenski, to investigate his possible electoral rival, Joe Biden, in exchange for maintaining military cooperation and legitimizing his mandate with a meeting at the White House.
This has triggered a procedure in which US diplomats have paraded in front of a commission of congressmen to explain how the president, through his personal lawyer Rudolph Giuliani, has achieved that foreign policy, which should be for the purposes of the state, is based on specific objectives of the president.
So far, the depositions have not been positive for Trump and have seemed to strengthen the arguments of his opponents, who see inappropriate behavior in a president who allegedly seeks to obtain particular political revenues from his investiture shortly after the next election.
And while the political trial is unlikely to end in a conviction and Trump's removal from office (as it must be approved by a Senate with a Republican majority), these procedures are not only judicial tools, but political weapons and Trump is aware of it. While he rhetorically refers to this as a witch hunt, he knows very well that this can affect his aspirations and those of his party.
Kentucky and Virginia are the first demonstrations that this political trial is taking its toll. In the first case, in a state that was very faithful in the previous election and where, except for two urban centers, he won everything.
From now on, not only the president must be cautious. The Republican party, which aspires to have a long life long after Trump leaves the political arena, must calculate whether to continue sticking unreservedly to the White House agenda or maintain a certain distance to protect its institutionality.
As analyst T. A. Frank said in his recent article for Vanity Fair, "Trump may be developing the‘ pharaoh's curse. " That is, everyone he supports will lose.
This is a paradigm shift, since in these two years it has been seen as a series of political king Midas, who supports and builds confidence in times of tiredness with traditional politics.
There is not enough evidence to support whether there is a change of model or not, but in Kentucky and Virginia there are two first indications of how the US policy may behave. UU. with Trump next year.