A rancorous America goes to the polls中期选举在即，美国社会仇恨弥漫 时间:2018-11-06 单词数:6080
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Americans are forever described as “divided”, as though that in itself is a bad thing. It would be stranger if a democratic nation did not disagree with itself, even stridently, about the largest matters of governance.
The US, which often saves its worst quarrels for midterm elections, did so in 2010, when Obamacare was the vexed question, in 1994, when Republicans ran against government itself, and as far back as 1938, when even Franklin Roosevelt tasted the people’s wrath. What distinguishes next week’s midterms from these rancorous precedents is the principal source of the rancour. It is from the very top, President Donald Trump, that the coarsest behaviour has come.
美国通常把最激烈的争吵留到中期选举时。这种情况曾发生在2010年，当时“奥巴马医改”(Obamacare)是人们争执不休的问题；也曾发生在1994年，当时在野党正是共和党自己；而早在1938年也曾出现过类似的情况，当年，就连富兰克林·罗斯福(Franklin Roosevelt)也尝到了民愤的滋味。本周的中期选举与这些充满仇恨的先例的区别在于，仇恨的主要源头不同。最粗俗的行为来自最高层——总统唐纳德·特朗普(Donald Trump)。
Mr Trump’s enemies list, which he airs in his rallies, goes beyond Democrats to include journalists, immigrants, the intelligence services, dissident athletes and an ill-defined elite. He has proposed the non-recognition of transgender people and commissioned campaign advertisements that take some stomach to sit through. The violence of recent weeks, targeting high-profile liberals and, in deadlier fashion, Jews, cannot be blamed directly on him. But a decent president would sense the hateful atmosphere and calm it down. Mr Trump too often exacerbates it to his own end.
His closing pitch to voters is the end of birthright citizenship and the baseless equation of a migrant “caravan” passing northwards through Mexico with Islamist terrorism. For a mighty nation in its economic pomp, it is a tawdry end to an unilluminating campaign.
It is tempting to see the votes for Congress on November 6 as a chance to check the president. But the world should not expect a Democratic capture of the House of Representatives, or even the Senate, to tame him all that much. It may do for his domestic programme but his worst acts are as much rhetorical as legislative. He can continue his despoliation of the civic atmosphere with no senators at all. His most contentious doings, such as the travel ban, the militarisation of the southern border and his America First foreign policies, often spring from his executive powers.
Nor are probes into his affairs from a Democratic Congress sure to cow him. For one thing, the Democrats, knowing the public’s indifference to process, have played down talk of endless investigations, choosing to run on healthcare instead. For another, Mr Trump is a master at impugning the motives of his pursuers until their integrity is as doubted as his. He has had some success against Robert Mueller, the special counsel who is looking into Russian influence on the 2016 election. He should have no trouble repeating the trick against Congress. Nothing will change Mr Trump’s behaviour until his own voters withdraw their support from him. After two years of ample opportunities, they remain stalwart.
The midterms are as likely to deepen the rift within America as plug it. If Republicans do badly, Mr Trump will whip up a siege mentality. If they perform well — a narrow loss of the House, say, while retaining the Senate — he will credit his own campaign tactics and escalate them. At the same time, the Democrats will unofficially begin the process of choosing a candidate to run against him in 2020. Activists are likely to reward those who oppose the president most vociferously. The result could be two years of even fouler politics than the previous two.
In normal times, the head of state would at least try to pour water on the tinderbox. At this juncture of history, Americans have to look elsewhere for such leadership.
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