James O'Neal of Republicans Overseas said "entrepreneurs create jobs, not governement policies."
Photo: Maison Moderne
The US midterm elections are set to take place on 6 November 2018. They include all 435 seats of the House of Representatives, as well as 35 of the 100 seats in the US Senate. That is a lot of seats and, as such, the midterm elections represent an important point in US politics, with the potential to, not only change the course of Donald Trump’s presidency, but also the political landscape for years to come.
It works like this. If the Democrats do well in the midterms, they would have the power to halt the Republican legislative agenda in congress and, conversely, if the Republicans do well there will be very little to stop them pursuing their own agenda by passing sweeping new laws. This would also mean that the Democrats would no longer be able to issue subpoenas or block Trump nominees, effectively giving the GOP a carte blanche in the Supreme Court.
With so much at stake, it is easy to see why the contest is heating up, even in Luxembourg. At a debate organised by Paperjam Club on Thursday, the Luxembourg chapters of the Republicans Overseas and Democrats Abroad came face-to-face in what was a “lively” discussion moderated by Delano's editor-in-chief Duncan Roberts.
The debate covered the usual suspects in terms of the election hot topics including: immigration, healthcare, transatlantic trade and the opioid crisis, with each side claiming to speak for the “average American”. If this is the case then it seems like the average American is very confused, as some of the points of view proffered were polar opposites of each other.
It was interesting to note that, although the idea was to debate each party’s policies, it soon became all about Trump as if he was the only man in power in the US, singlehandedly solving or creating the world’s problems, depending on your point of view.
The Republicans claimed that Trump is having a positive effect on the economy, understanding that in order to create jobs and a healthy economy, the wealth of the middle classes is important. “Entrepreneurs create jobs,” said James O’Neal, “not government policies, and Trump understands this.”
William Abundes claimed, “The economy is better under Trump. We have more freedom. Yes, he works in an unorthodox way, but he is not a politician, so he doesn’t behave like one.” At this point a (not so) quiet voice from the audience was heard saying, “No, he’s a con man”.
As for the Democrats, their view of Trump’s legacy so far is that the human dimension has been forgotten. Eva Moynihan said, “Trump is changing everything, but is it good for everyone? He has cut tax for the top 1%, but he is not helping education or healthcare.”
In rebuttal, Abundes found religion, “Why should the top 1% pay taxes for everyone. Even in the Bible, God only demands 10%.”
Moynihan added, “Since Trump we are seeing more racism in the US with extremists believing that he has validated their views and that white supremacy was right all along.”
On the subject of immigration tempers flared. Natalie Bachiri (Democrats Abroad) accused Trump of treating all immigrants as if they are bad, animals even, when in fact statistics show that they are less likely than the “average American” to commit crime. “Illegal immigrants are 44% less likely to be incarcerated,” she said.
“Fake news! Fake news!” called O’Neal. “Trump has been totally misquoted here. He was taking specifically about the MS13 gang, but, as usual, you have taken his words out of context.”
The debate continued on to discussion of the wall between Mexico and the US, jobs and Obama Care, with each side quoting statistics that proved their points in equal measure. Trump is creating jobs and Trump is destroying jobs; Obama Care is a disaster and Obama Care has given millions of Americans access to affordable healthcare. The wall is going to solve all of these problems by keeping gangsters and drug dealers out, and the wall is going to make them worse by blocking potential workers from entering the country.
Perhaps polar opposite points of view are what happens when a country only has two political parties to choose from. Not because there are no moderate people on either side, but because it is tends to be those with the strongest views who make the most noise. Good luck to US citizens around the world who are considering how best to use their votes this year.