The New Year is only a few hours old, but the political forces that are likely to shape a turbulent 2019 are already in play.
President Donald Trump, worried about spurning his most loyal supporters who bonded with him over his 2016 demands for a border wall, is digging deeper into a partial government shutdown that is stretching into an 11th day with no clear way out.
The Democratic presidential race is already firing up following Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s announcement in the dying hours of 2018 that she is launching an exploratory committee — the first step toward a campaign for the party’s nomination.
There was an ominous feel to the holidays given the dark cloud hanging over Trump because of special counsel Robert Mueller, whose findings could take the nation down the bitter road to impeachment in the year to come.
But the President doesn’t just have to worry about Mueller. Democrats are days away from taking control of the House of Representatives and inaugurating a novel challenge for
Trump’s presidency — congressional oversight.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 265 points to close 2018, in a sleepy session compared to the stomach-churning instability that produced the worst year for stocks in a decade and could fuel economic uncertainty that could play into the 2020 race.
And as always, there are signs of instability and chaos in the White House, with confusion over Trump’s exact position on a border wall and his planned Syria troop withdrawal, while key staff vacancies were unfilled.