In the 22 months since taking office, President Donald Trump has methodically implemented his “America first” agenda that helped him win the 2016 election. The fate of that agenda is on the ballot as Americans head to the polls on Election Day.
While Republican majorities in the House and Senate helped Trump deliver on the promises he made on the campaign trail, the loss of that advantage in either chamber could derail the momentum.
That fact isn’t lost on the president, who has campaigned across the nation for GOP candidates in the weeks leading up to Nov. 6. His cross-country Make America Great Again tour included 11 rallies in six days, with stops in Florida, Indiana, Missouri, and Montana, among other battleground states.
The president’s agenda at home has centered on cutting taxes and reducing regulations, and his actions to date have fueled an economic revival unseen in decades. Trump continues to fight to secure the Southern border and fix an immigration system considered by many to be fundamentally flawed. In the meantime, Senate Republicans confirmed two conservative Supreme Court justices and are fundamentally shifting the balance in the lower courts at the fastest pace in history.
Trump’s speeches, while underlining the successes of his agenda, caution Americans that voting for Democrats would threaten the progress made so far.
“Now, we are defending the borders of our country. So, very simply, if you want more caravans and more crime, because crime comes with [caravans], vote for the Democrats. Vote for them. If you want strong borders and safe communities, vote for the Republicans. It’s very simple,” Trump said on Nov. 4 at a rally in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
According to polls, which failed to predict Trump’s victory in 2016, Republicans, who have a steady hold on the Senate, are more likely to lose the House of Representatives. Democrats are already preparing for that, with plans to swamp the president with congressional probes and to shut down an existing investigation of surveillance targeting the Trump campaign. Losing the House would also spell doom for key Trump initiatives that require congressional approval, including further tax cuts, funding the border wall, and the repeal of Obamacare.
On the eve of the election, Republicans edging ahead of Democrats by one point in a generic congressional ballot survey conducted by Rasmussen Reports, the polling company that came closest to predicting the outcome of the 2016 election. The two parties are statistically tied, since the poll has a two-point margin of error.
A separate Rasmussen poll measuring how outspoken Americans are about their Election Day intentions hints at the possibility of another red wave, driven by the so-called silent majority.
In 2018, 60 percent of Democrats said they are more likely to tell others about how they intend to vote, compared to 49 percent of Republicans. The 11-point gap is nearly double that recorded in 2016, when 52 percent of Democrats and 46 percent of Republicans said they were likely to inform others of their voting intentions.
“Some analysts before and after Donald Trump’s upset victory suggested that most pollsters missed his hidden support among voters who, fearful of criticism, were unwilling to say where they stood,” Rasmussen said in a press release.
Trump’s spirited assertion of U.S. sovereignty on the global stage could also be slowed if Democrats bury the president in congressional investigations and the myriad legal issues they would entail.
In less than two years, Trump countered China’s decades-long economic-warfare offensive against the United States, secured an agreement for the denuclearization of North Korea, repeatedly punished Russia for malign activity on U.S. soil and worldwide, and exited a nuclear deal with Iran, which he and his allies view as disastrous.
The president also directed the United States’ exit from transnational agreements which he and his allies view as one-sided. The president also asserted the United States’ independence from global courts and organizations, including the International Criminal Court and the Universal Postal Union.
“We’re putting America first. It hasn’t happened in a lot of decades. We’re taking care of ourselves for a change, folks,” Trump said at a rally in Houston on Oct. 22.
“But radical Democrats want to turn back the clock for the rule of corrupt power-hungry globalists,” Trump added. “You know what a globalist is, right? A globalist is a person that wants the globe to do well—frankly, not caring about our country so much. And you know what? We can’t have that.”
Whether at home or abroad, countering communism and socialism has emerged as one of the key themes unifying Trump’s efforts. This agenda is on the line as well, since Republicans align with Trump on the issue. Meanwhile, some Democrats are openly running as socialists, and others, according to recent hidden-camera investigations, are concealing their far-left views to win votes.
The president often has openly lambasted the twin ideologies on the world stage. In both of his speeches before the United Nations General Assembly, Trump excoriated socialism and communism as deadly and disastrous. In South Korea, the president cast communism as the definitive factor that created the stark difference between destitution in Pyongyang and prosperity in Seoul. Most recently, the Trump administration labeled Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua as the “troika of tyranny” and the “sordid cradle of communism.”
At home, the Trump administration is undoing the central tenets of socialism—high taxes and a sprawling regulatory state. In the most definitive statement against socialist policies, Trump’s Council of Economic Advisers released a report in October that reviewed the opportunity costs of socialism.
The report concludes that socialist policies in the United States would lead to shortages or degrade the quality of any product or service which is monopolized by the government, slowing the pace of innovation and lowering the quality of life.
“Communism is the past,” Trump said at the White House on Oct. 4. “Freedom is the future.”