US electoral apocalypse, political doomsday, to lay waste economic growth

Source:Global Times Published: 2017/12/27 22:08:40

A political doomsday is approaching stateside. Republican and Democratic parties will splinter ahead of the 2018 midterm election, marginalizing moderates. More firebrand politicians increase the chances of government shutdowns, a debt default and trade wars. A wasteland economy would be mere collateral damage.

Turmoil is growing inside both major US political parties. On the Republican side, former White House chief strategist Stephen Bannon is backing congressional candidates who defy the establishment, like Roy Moore, the former Alabama judge accused of sexual harassment. Moore lost a special Senate election in mid-December, in a stunning upset for the GOP. Bannon has also called for the resignation of GOP Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Democrats are not immune. Senator Elizabeth Warren recently said the 2016 presidential primary was rigged against socialist Bernie Sanders in favor of Hillary Clinton. Senator Dianne Feinstein was booed at a San Francisco event for saying President Donald Trump could be a good leader if he changed.

In November and December, left-wing congressional Democrats were pushing for a government shutdown if Republicans failed to help young illegal immigrants who faced deportation under Trump. Extremists on both sides also want to scrap trade deals like the North American Free Trade Agreement after successfully pushing for the US pullout from the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Moderates, meanwhile, are fleeing politics or are under threat of ejection. About two dozen House Republicans have announced they will not run for re-election.

Six moderate Democratic senators face tough re-election bids in states that Trump won in 2016. Five of them, including Joe Donnelly of Indiana, co-sponsored a Republican-led bill to raise the threshold for a bank to be considered systemically important from $50 billion to $250 billion.

Those kinds of moments could disappear altogether with many 2018 candidates running to blow up the system. Many are willing to risk government shutdowns, debt defaults and trade wars to prove their point. There will be few compromisers left to stop them.

The author is Gina Chon, a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The article was first published on Reuters Breakingviews.

Posted in: INSIDER'S EYE

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