WISHFUL THINKING

ABC contributor Micheline Maynard, an American cuisine and transport – heavy haulage – expert dissects the 2018 mid-term election:

For the past two years, a question has hovered over American politics. How could the same country that elected an eloquent, well-principled black Democratic president for two terms swing so dramatically to put Republican flame thrower Donald Trump in office?

On Tuesday, the voters who elected Barack Obama woke up from their 24-month nightmare. At polling places across the country, they regained their equilibrium, and showed that the country that originally put Mr Obama in office was still there.

Democrats took back control of the US House from Mr Trump’s Republican Party, all but assuring that the President’s business dealings will be exposed when the new Congress takes effect in January.

So, rather than concentrate on a legislative agenda the Democrats will continue their preoccupation with all things Trump.

You can draw a gardening analogy in what has happened in the United States.

Often, American gardeners will be distracted by spectacular flowering weeds, like purple salvia, or an aromatic herb such as mint that will show up in their carefully tended beds.

Given summer sunshine and copious rain, these visiting plants can spread across the borders and look temporarily impressive, just as Mr Trump provided unexpected flair on the political scene during the 2016 campaign.

But his rhetoric has proven to be like those weeds, which have to be eradicated lest they put down deep roots and choke off healthy plants, the kind that gardeners hope will keep going for years on end.

Maynard conveniently ignores the massive Obama weeding-out of 2010, when the Democrats suffered massive swings, Republicans gaining six seats in the Senate and 63 in the House.

Whereas the 2018 anti-Republican swing was in line with historical trends, Maynard somehow imagines Obama’s campaigning as a decisive factor:

In this election, Mr Obama served as the weed killer to start to expel Mr Trump, before his divisiveness became too permanent on the American scene.

His methods included endorsements of more than 340 Democratic candidates, running for offices ranging from state legislature seats to governor’s chairs, from the House of Representatives to the Senate.

Mr Obama’s first wave of 81 endorsements came in August, although he avoided picking candidates for races where Democrats were running for their parties’ nominations. His second round of endorsements came in October, when he gave his backing to 260 more candidates.

Mr Obama did more than that, however. He held a series of rallies in places such as Georgia, Florida, Indiana and his home state of Illinois, with tickets in hot demand for his appearances.

The tickets might have been in “hot demand” but the results didn’t quite work out for Democrats.

The real question is how Americans were so naive as to elect Obama, the worst President ever?

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