STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Six big political questions for 2019

If anyone expected Donald Trump's presidency to evolve into something more normal, the past few months shoul...

Posted: Jan 1, 2019 3:35 PM
Updated: Jan 1, 2019 3:35 PM

If anyone expected Donald Trump's presidency to evolve into something more normal, the past few months should have disabused them of this misplaced confidence. The year ended with total political chaos: An administration under investigation on multiple fronts, several high-profile departures — one, Secretary of Defense James Mattis, in full protest of the President's world view — and a stock market that has been plummeting.

Can 2019 top the tumultuous political year that is now coming to an end? Here are six big political questions that will shape the coming months.

2020 Presidential election

Donald Trump

Elections (by type)

Elections and campaigns

Government and public administration

Government bodies and offices

Government organizations - US

Impeachment

Investigations

Political candidates

Political Figures - US

Political organizations

Political scandals

Politics

Scandals

US Congress

US Democratic Party

US Federal elections

US federal government

US political parties

US Presidential elections

US Republican Party

White House

How will Democrats use their power?

Now that Democrats are in control of the House of Representatives and finally have some power in Washington, the next question becomes: How will they use it? One of the debates that is taking place in the Democratic Caucus has to do with whether the party will investigate or legislate. This is a false choice. The House can do both. The more pertinent question revolves around how they will tackle each responsibility.

If Democrats don't back away from their oversight responsibility (some may fear seeming like the Republicans who moved forward with charges against Bill Clinton that a majority of Congress did not think rose to the level of high crimes and misdemeanors), then the challenge will be to handle the investigations in a deliberate and methodical fashion. The same way the House Judiciary Committee did in 1974, when it considered President Richard Nixon's impeachment in a judicious and cautious manner. Similarly, without much hope for passing legislation through a Republican Senate and White House, Democrats need to figure out what issues they will focus public attention on in the lower chamber, so that they can generate debates that better position the party for victory in 2020.

Does the right solidify its hold on the federal courts?

One area that President Trump and the GOP can claim great success in has been with the courts. The administration has been able to move several federal appointees through the federal courts with great speed, and Trump can now rightfully boast about placing two justices — Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh — on the Supreme Court. With news that Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg had cancerous nodules removed from her lungs, 2018 ended with the very real possibility of another conservative justice coming into the picture. Though Democrats can rightly claim that the midterms were a huge success for their party, Republicans did expand their majority in the Senate, which gives the administration huge leverage in its campaign to push the court in a rightward direction.

Will social movements intensify?

The role of grassroots social movements, such as the Parkland students for gun control, #MeToo and Indivisible, has been a remarkable development. We have witnessed the flourishing of grassroots progressive activism at a level that has not been seen for several decades. This past year, average Americans who were frustrated with the administration showed that they could make a huge difference in American politics. Activists shifted the public discourse on issues such as gun control and sexual assault as they mobilized to help candidates win office. Indivisible kept immense pressure on legislators at the local level to stand firm against the President. The kind of energy that all of these citizens brought to the campaign trail could be extremely important to Democrats once again in the presidential election. But maintaining that level of energy and engagement is never easy.

Who are the Democratic front-runners?

With the first Democratic debate set for June 2019, the presidential campaign of 2020 has now officially begun. Over the coming months, the Democratic field will start to take shape. Voters will hear from experienced voices, such as former Vice President Joe Biden, who promises Democrats experience and toughness, as well as promising upstarts like Beto O'Rourke and Kamala Harris, who offer idealism and vision. The early months of the primaries just begin the sorting process. Candidates will start to raise money and to secure the best campaign professionals possible. They will try to develop their name recognition in the media and give voters a taste of their personality. The early shots that each person will take from their competitors will test them in terms of how they will respond to the buzz saw that will be coming from Trump in 2020.

Does the Republican Party finally break?

In the final weeks of the year, President Trump has continued to test his party's loyalty — with the impromptu announcement of the pullout of troops from Syria and the government shutdown.

Republican legislators could finally start to stand up to the President through legislation, restraining executive power or protecting legitimate oversight. A political breakaway could also come in the form of Republican candidates mounting primary challenges to offer a different outlook for the party. This would give conservative voters who don't agree with the administration an opportunity to register their disapproval of the President. Or do they continue to remain silent?

Generally, it seems like Republicans are still holding firm. If they started to really break from the President, that would be the most perilous development for a White House that has counted on partisanship from day one.

Will President Trump survive his first term?

What was once mere speculation has entered into the realm of possibility. With Democrats taking over the House, the President is facing a series of high-profile investigations that deal with very serious charges. While Robert Mueller looks into election interference and possible obstruction of justice, the attorneys general of Maryland and DC want to know whether the President has accepted money from foreign governments, via his hotels, in exchange for access to power. The Southern District of New York is exploring whether Trump Organization executives, other than Michael Cohen, violated campaign finance laws. And in the midst of its legal woes, the Trump Foundation has agreed to dissolve.

The possibility of impeachment proceedings is now very real. Although Democrats continue to push back when questioned about whether they will attempt to trigger this process, inside of Washington there is clear recognition that the facts on the ground might force their hand regardless of what makes for the best politics.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 501097

Reported Deaths: 9990
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison34338538
DeSoto32117403
Hinds31939628
Jackson24494382
Rankin21995390
Lee15543235
Madison14581280
Jones13851242
Forrest13453251
Lauderdale11991317
Lowndes11050188
Lamar10521135
Pearl River9533237
Lafayette8550140
Hancock7732127
Washington7438158
Oktibbeha7146131
Monroe6777177
Warren6694176
Pontotoc6664102
Neshoba6637206
Panola6531131
Marshall6467134
Bolivar6317148
Union602894
Pike5820152
Alcorn5669101
Lincoln5436135
George496879
Scott472898
Tippah469281
Prentiss467281
Leflore4658144
Itawamba4636105
Tate4588111
Adams4587119
Copiah448592
Simpson4446116
Yazoo444187
Wayne439772
Covington428894
Sunflower4239105
Marion4226108
Coahoma4160105
Leake408288
Newton381779
Grenada3707108
Stone360364
Tishomingo359792
Attala331589
Jasper329965
Winston314291
Clay308076
Chickasaw300367
Clarke292494
Calhoun279446
Holmes267987
Smith264050
Yalobusha234047
Tallahatchie228051
Greene219348
Walthall218763
Lawrence212940
Perry205556
Amite205156
Webster202946
Noxubee186740
Montgomery179656
Jefferson Davis171743
Carroll169138
Tunica159839
Benton148838
Kemper141941
Choctaw133426
Claiborne132737
Humphreys129538
Franklin120228
Quitman106428
Wilkinson105139
Jefferson94534
Sharkey64120
Issaquena1937
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 819597

Reported Deaths: 15406
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1147901924
Mobile725791338
Madison52306697
Shelby37597350
Baldwin37245552
Tuscaloosa35101612
Montgomery34106740
Lee23526246
Calhoun22225488
Morgan20941378
Etowah19825500
Marshall18361304
Houston17384412
St. Clair16054339
Cullman15443293
Limestone15343199
Elmore15241286
Lauderdale14302295
Talladega13836283
DeKalb12649261
Walker11202370
Blount10192176
Autauga10043148
Jackson9871184
Coffee9210191
Dale8897185
Colbert8860201
Tallapoosa7084198
Escambia6772134
Covington6712183
Chilton6641162
Russell636659
Franklin5959105
Chambers5607142
Marion5005127
Dallas4973200
Pike4795106
Clarke475584
Geneva4571127
Winston4516103
Lawrence4321117
Bibb425186
Barbour357776
Marengo338090
Monroe331464
Randolph329764
Butler326396
Pickens316284
Henry312666
Hale311388
Cherokee302860
Fayette292880
Washington251551
Cleburne247760
Crenshaw245275
Clay243368
Macon234663
Lamar224147
Conecuh186153
Coosa180240
Lowndes175164
Wilcox168839
Bullock151644
Perry138840
Sumter133038
Greene126744
Choctaw88527
Out of AL00
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Clear
77° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 60°
Feels Like: 79°
Columbus
Clear
72° wxIcon
Hi: 75° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 72°
Oxford
Clear
77° wxIcon
Hi: 79° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 79°
Starkville
Clear
72° wxIcon
Hi: 76° Lo: 60°
Feels Like: 72°
Clear cool and dry to begin your weekend, but both afternoons should be a little bit above what we expect for this time of year temperature wise. Rain chances begin to return late Sunday night, with at least two chances for storms over the next week, summer could be strong.
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather