If Donald Trump‘s Republicans keep control of Congress in the midterms this week, buckle up.
Former Republican Max Boot argued in an interview with the West Block’s Mercedes Stephenson that a midterm win will severely escalate the attacks by the president on American institutions and make it clear to Trump there’s no political penalty for his behaviour over the past two years.
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“In his mind, anything that works is justified,” said Boot, who recently authored a column in the Washington Post calling on Americans to vote against every single Republican on their ballot to send a political message.
“If this kind of fear and loathing campaign is rewarded at the ballot box, you’re going to see this ‘times 10’ in 2020.”
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Boot added that such a win would lead to further efforts to erode even more institutions, including those meant to keep the people in power accountable.
“I think this also gives Trump the green light to further assault our institutions in the way he is undermining the apolitical nature of the military right now and he’s probably going to end up cleaning out the justice department to stop the investigation of him,” he said.
“I think it would be a nightmare for America if under the current circumstances Republicans retain control of both houses.”
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While Trump’s administration so far has been marked by its divisive and inflammatory rhetoric, along with its disregard for accepted facts, the weeks leading up to the midterm election have seen a marked escalation in attacks against journalists and his political opponents.
He is also currently in the midst of a rally blitz ahead of the midterms.
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Along with journalists, one of his most frequent targets during those rallies has been the so-called migrant caravan of asylum seekers approaching the southern U.S. border from South America.
Trump has threatened to deploy 15,000 troops to the border, promised an executive order this week to eliminate the policy of releasing migrants into the public to await their asylum hearing, and suggested U.S. troops will be authorized to open fire on migrants if any throw rocks at soldiers.
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Less prominent have been pitches to voters based on his self-lauded tax cuts or appointments of conservative judges, Boot said.
“The reason they’re doing it is they don’t think Donald Trump has a positive agenda to run on,” he said.
“They don’t think voters are going to respond to the tax cuts or the conservative justices so they’re fear-mongering, hoping to rile up the base by pretending there’s this invasion of illegal immigrants going on, which is simply false.”
What remains to be seen is whether that fear-mongering will be enough to keep Republicans in control of both the House of Representatives and the Senate.
The midterms take place on Tuesday.