2019 commenced with straight evidence that it will be a year of big losers and big winners. Take the case of two big players in the world. In the United States of America, the 116th Congress commenced on January 03, 2019. The picture is fascinating: Democrats have a commanding majority in the House of Representatives while Republicans have a very strong majority in the Senate. This implies that if the House impeaches Trump, the probability is that the Senate which is controlled by the Republican Party will block the conviction. And even if the two chambers conclude against Trump, he is confident that the Supreme Court would do something to keep him in the White House.
Smart moves by a man regarded as the quintessential transactional leader. He poured in much of his political capital in the Senate races during the mid-term elections as well as in the Supreme Court confirmations for the purpose of consolidating his stay in office. Probably he has calculated that the House of Representatives can be dispensed with, the reason he spent so little campaigning at that level. Will the math work out perfectly as laid out?
Yet, Donald Trump has shown too early that it is a lame-duck year for him. Insisting on having his way with the wall when in fact he is hitting a wall might just be the turning point in his tenure. Maybe the House is tougher than anticipated? It is a fascinating drama.
Donald Trump will most likely be the biggest loser in 2019: China’s economy is evidently slowing down yet the leaders are not in a hurry to give Trump something to gloat over. One of the most baffling things about Trump is the impression he gives that he is a one-tract mind. Why would anyone not realize that China is not the US and that most Chinese can take a lot of beating without complaining? US jobs reports may be flowery but the economy is slowly tanking and rural America did not even enjoy the benefits of the tax cuts while it lasted. So who loses?
When there are too many pulls on a strong man, his strength recedes. This proverb from the Ibibio people of Southern Nigeria comes very much alive if one watches a lone elephant surrounded by a pride of hungry lions. The elephant, the biggest land animal continues to kick lions that manage to reach it. But the kick reduces in energy and rapidity as it is attacked from several flanks and the pain is debilitating. Finally, it crashes with all its weight, crushing trees, grasses, and even an unwary lion that was close by. Will this be the fate of Donald Trump?
The big winner? I hold my breath as I submit that Nancy Pelosi may be the first female Acting President of the US. My heart bleeds that Mrs Clinton did not get the honour of being the first female President although it is not too late in the day. Why Pelosi?
An interesting scenario could play itself out. Suppose Donald Trump is certain he will be impeached and he turns on his Vice as he has done to many of his lieutenants? Suppose he finds a way to force Mr Pence out of office, accusing him of working with the opposition to undermine his boss? What is more, he was placed at the 67th position in Forbes list of the world’s most powerful people while Trump fell to number 3 position. One is not sure whether Donald Trump likes his VP being regarded as a powerful man. And Mr Pence has hardly succeeded in hiding his interest in the number one spot. Suppose, just suppose a string of events sees Trump out of the White House without a Vice to take over? Speaker Pelosi would simply slide into the seat of Acting President. And with the face-off with Trump, it is evident she would be a strong President. The plot in this leadership drama is thickening and we watch with breathlessly what the end will be.
Meanwhile, across the Atlantic, another leader appears set to crash out of office. Prime Minister Theresa May might have fought off so many no-confidence votes. Yet, like the elephant, a pride of lions within and outside her Conservative Party are busy biting off a piece of her flesh while the great lady is very much alive. Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the Labour Party appears set to be the next occupant of 10 Downing Street, London. Although he does not appear colourful (he is, in fact, lacklustre) he might be the big winner this year.
Have a good year everybody.