Clinton presidency, Republican Congress is sweet spot for Asia

Asian countries will be better off with a Hillary Clinton presidency and a Republican held Congress and Senate rather than the popular notion of a Democratic president being strengthened by a Democratic sweep of the two arms of policy making in America.

“Should Donald Trump's likely electoral collapse on Nov. 8 lead to a Democratic sweep of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, which are now in Republican hands, Clinton will have greater difficulty enacting her Asia policy agenda,” says Daniel Twining, director at the German Marshall Fund of the U.S. and a former official of the George W. Bush administration.

For a deep understanding of both the candidates’ stand on all the issues, the Council on Foreign Relations has a fine one-stop resource.

Asia's sweet spot lies in a mixed match/ Reuters

Asia's sweet spot lies in a mixed match/ Reuters

It has long appeared likely that the GOP will retain its House majority, but that now seems less sure with Trump's campaign on free fall. Democratic House gains appear certain, but Democrats would have to pick up 30 seats to win control.

With a Clinton landslide, Republican losses will likely extend beyond the White House because fewer Americans split their tickets between the general election and the US Congress. Polling data from YouGov shows that only 4% of the Trump base says it will vote for a Democratic candidate for Congress.

Betting-market odds that the Republicans lose control of the Senate have run in parallel with Trump’s slump. "Will GOP keep the Senate" is a sell on betting market PredictIt.

If Hillary Clinton wins the White House and therefore leads a Democratic sweep of the Senate (100 seats) and the Congress (435 seats), she faces an uphill battle to get her pet projects going.

Twining says Clinton will need a Republican Congress to increase defence spending to fund the US rebalance to Asia which she championed as secretary of state and is now one of John Kerry’s most urgent foreign policy pivots.

A Republican Congress will lend muscle to the Trans-Pacific Partnership and other trade agreements that “reinforce U.S. leadership in Asia, even if her administration renegotiates the deal.”

Obama similarly rejigged the Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement which he inherited from President George W. Bush's administration.

Just as America’s election architecture lets a candidate win the popular vote and that may not translate to an electoral college victory, the Democrats winning the Senate and the Congress will actually make a Clinton administration’s job tougher.

That brings us to Paul Ryan - speaker of the House of Representatives, still only 46 and tipped to run for the GOP nomination in 2020. The fall guy as Trump’s leads melt away, Ryan is leading the GOP charge to take control of the House.

After the Trump tapes exploded on the campaign, sinking Trump’s leads into the dust, Ryan has distanced himself from the billionaire in the hope that his party can focus and win at least the House. Although on the face of it, a Republican held Congress and a Clinton presidency seem to be at cross purposes, long timers insist that this actually works for Clinton at least in so far as it concerns Asia.

House Republicans meet after the November elections to select their nominee for speaker. Ryan would then need 218 votes — a majority of the chamber's 435 members — to become speaker when the full House votes in January.

There are currently 246 House Republicans, plus a vacant seat they seem likely to retain.

But that number will likely shrink after Election Day, with GOP moderates among the likeliest to lose.


Published Date: Oct 20, 2016 08:54 pm | Updated Date: Oct 25, 2016 09:46 am


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