Donald Trump has been president for just under a week. So far, he has shown every intention of serving as America’s CEO in precisely the manner he campaigned for the job. The gravity of his office has yet to endow him with the slightest hint of gravitas that might help obscure his transparent and exploitable character flaws.

The man is a flaming narcissist. The original Narcissus fell so deeply in love with his own reflection in a pool of water that he lost his balance, tumbled in and drowned. When Trump tumbles, he may take his country, even the world, down with him.

His easily-bruised vanity is far more worrying than his autocratic instincts. He is boorish and unlettered, crawling with resentments, and selfishly, not strategically, vengeful.

Vengeance not vision fired his bid for the presidency if you believe Omarosa Manigault, who worked with him for many years on his Apprentice series of reality TV shows and who is now, remarkably, on his White House staff.

In an interview last year for Frontline, a Public Broadcasting Service documentary series, Manigault was asked why Trump was running. She replied: “Every critic, every detractor will have to bow down to President Trump. It’s everyone who has ever doubted Donald, whoever disagreed, whoever challenged him. It is the ultimate revenge to become the most powerful man in the universe.”

As if that were not sufficiently alarming, Trump lacks the intellectual depth or curiosity to understand — as yet — what America’s founders wrought and how, with checks and balances, they rigged things to safeguard the republic against mountebanks such as himself.

Perhaps with experience he will get it. But he is 70 and chances are his wires are irrevocably hardened. In any event, the experience is bound to be bitter, and as president, he does have a lot of dangerous toys — many more than James Madison or Alexander Hamilton ever imagined — to throw from his cot as the learning curve is put in front of him. That is the worry. It’s not that the institutions set up to contain his ilk will ultimately fail. Over the long term they won’t. More to be feared is the immediate mayhem he can wreak while flailing against them and revving up his base to do the same.

A grown-up who won the White House with a respectable majority of electoral votes but a minority of popular kind would accept the result with good grace and appropriate humility. Such a win is entirely legitimate under the agreed rules. Great presidents have been elected without popular majorities, among them Abraham Lincoln, perhaps the greatest.

Trump is not made of the same stuff. He simply cannot accept that he received 2.8 million votes fewer than Hillary Clinton. It does not mesh with his personal narrative according to which winners like himself may not come second in anything. Therefore the tally must be fraudulent, the result of millions of non-citizens voting to “take away the country” from the “forgotten” majority that voted for him.

He’s entitled to seek consolation in such fantasies if he keeps them to himself. But to whinge on in public and have his surrogates keep repeating the lie is to blow on the embers of resentments that are scorching this country and which any responsible president would be working overtime to douse.

Fanning flames may be Trump’s cynical intention, of course. There may be artifice, too, in his infantile rage over the comparisons fairly drawn between his inauguration crowd and the far larger one that came to see his predecessor take the oath in 2009. But his fury is clearly real.

He could not contain it when he spoke to CIA staff on Saturday. He was supposed to be making nice with the intelligence community he had earlier called Nazi because of its conclusions regarding Russian efforts to nobble the election in his favor. Instead he stood in front of the wall honoring the agency’s dead and whined about his treatment by the media. The same afternoon he obliged his cowering spokesman, Sean Spicer, to vent on his behalf in a bizarre, lie-laced rant to an astounded White House press corps.

Presidents dis the CIA at their peril. It knows stuff and its calculated indiscretions are especially prized by the media.

“CIA Starts Recruiting its Newest Asset: Donald Trump” was the headline to a piece published on Tuesday by The Daily Beast, a respectable online purveyor of real news. The agency’s deliverables include granular profiles of foreign leaders with whom presidents and their teams have to deal. The Beast asked agency officers present and former (not entirely distinct sets) to assess Trump for exploitable vulnerabilities.

One response: “He is extremely insecure like an adolescent boy. If you are very secure with yourself, you don’t talk about yourself the whole time. People who are loud and bragging and projecting confidence, they are overcompensating for their own personal insecurities through their behaviour.”

That is an accurate measure of America’s 45th president. To play him, flatter him.

Giving them back their nation

I live about 100 kms northwest of Washington in a leafy deindustrialised county of the same name which gave President-elect Donald Trump 62 per cent of its vote on November 8.

Back when I had reason to use his services, the guy who cut my hair out here was an affable Harley-Davidson rider called Pete. I’d ride to his shop in Boonsboro, Maryland, on my BMW and we’d talk bikes.

Not politics. From his conversation with other customers, I knew where that would lead. I had no wish to bandy words with a man wielding a razor. A couple of weeks before the latest election Pete hung a banner 5 metres across above his store front. It read: “We want our nation back. Please vote! It’s our country too.”

A coward about practicing journalism on my own doorstep, I suggested to a visiting colleague that she stop in and ask Pete and his clientele who they wanted the country back from.The short answer turned out to be Moslems of whom, in this neighborhood, there are approximately zero.

From our previous encounters, I am certain that chief among the alleged invaders Pete and co. had in mind was that well-known son of Kenya or somewhere else not America, Barack Hussein Obama. I am equally confident that what they have against him is less what they assume to be his faith than the color of his skin. But they are not about to say this in so many words to an outsider, or perhaps even to themselves.

Trump, who believes he can manufacture truth through the persevering repetition of lies, has tweeted that the only reason he lost the popular vote (by close to 3 million votes) was fraud and that he won the electoral college in a “landslide”. Actually, it was the 44th biggest such “landslide’ of the past 54 elections. As for the popular vote, there is no evidence of cheating. The margin that put Trump over the top in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania — 78 000 votes all told — was well under 1 per cent in every case. Had she won those three states, the White House would by Hillary Clinton’s.

The narrowness of the mountebank’s win makes it difficult to say which of several factors was decisive. Any and all could have played a part. Did Putin’s hackers and their willing accomplice, Julian Assange, do for Clinton? Was it the shortcomings of her own campaign?

Statistician Nate Silver, who got things right in 2012 but whose reading of the entrails was not as felicitous in 2016, backs the theory that James Comey, the FBI director, queered Hillary’s pitch by publicly insinuating in the closing days of the campaign that his agents had found more incriminating emails from Clinton’s private server.

I attribute more agency to Trump himself.

When President Obama was elected on 2008, a lot of us naively imagined that America had at last exorcised its racial demons. A hundred years earlier, President Theodore Roosevelt was excoriated, North and South, for destabilising the Republic simply by inviting a black man, Booker T. Washington, to dine with him in the White House. Now a black man had been chosen to fill Roosevelt’s shoes.

In reality, the country that elected Obama had not come nearly as far as we, or perhaps even he, wanted to think. Out there, in a world we did — do — not feel comfortable engaging, lurked the undead ghosts of America’s original sin — the founding exception to Thomas Jefferson’s ringing assertion that all men are created equal. It has haunted the nation ever since.

Trump, a man driven to win solely for winning’s sake, sees White House as Everest, to be climbed because it’s there. Winning it was his way of getting even with the elites he correctly sees as judging him to be our own day’s equivalent of Trimalchio, the vulgar, hyper-rich parvenu invented by the emperor Nero’s arbiter of elegance Petronius, in his novel, the Satyricon.

Trump, unfortunately, is way cleverer than Trimalchio. He’s a marketer. He knows his suckers and what it takes to hook them. He saw political gold in the white working class left behind by globalization and automation in the deindustrialising hinterland. He saw, too, the resentments and propensities for racial scapegoating in the age of Obama that were awaiting someone as cynical as he to enable and fan into a movement. Accordingly he campaigned to prove Obama foreign-born and thus illegally president.

Where from here? Trump has promised the voters who gave him his electoral college edge things he cannot deliver however much he tries to jawbone companies like Carrier to keep production in the US. Assembly line jobs offering middle class incomes are not coming back. In any event, Trump is putting together a team that seems largely insensitive to blue collar interests, eager, rather, to smash what is left of the labour unions and to unleash the predatory squid that is Goldman Sachs.

So what does he do to keep his suckers hooked? Rev up the racism? It has worked well for him so far.

Trump and AGOA

What do we know about President-elect Donald Trump thinking on Africa? Not much. The Trump Organisation’s website shows no evidence of commercial interest in the region. Maybe that will change. Sons Donald Jr. and Eric — Uday and Qusay, as some like to call them — get a kick out of slaughtering defenceless African wildlife, including big cats. Dad says that’s not his thing. He prefers golf, but he’s proud of their marksmanship.

Of course, if he had enunciated some sort of line on Africa while campaigning, we would still not be much the wiser. He treats truth the way he treats women. We are left to divine for ourselves what a Trump policy might look like were if it were to be broadly in line with his America First manifesto and with the views of those he appears to trust.

Were I the South African ambassador, the first Trumpster I would want to talk to would be Dan DiMicco, the retired steel executive who heads Trump’s “landing team” on trade and is a leading contender to take over as US Trade Representative. As chairman and CEO of Nucor, DiMicco kept his Washington lawyers busy driving allegedly dumped and subsidized foreign steel, including SA’s, out of the US market.

The new administration is unlikely to want to tamper with the African Growth and Opportunity Act whose renewal last year until 2025 had the unanimous support of both parties. The question is whether and to what degree a Trump White House will make use of the law’s eligibility conditions.

SA could find itself squarely in the cross-hairs, especially if the landing team pays heed to the Beyond AGOA report President Obama’s trade office put out in October. Its speaks repeatedly of the competitive disadvantage US companies face in SA vis-a-vis their European rivals because of the EU-SADC economic partnership agreement that just went into effect. Sales of “maybe a couple of hundred” products stand to be hurt according to one US diplomat. They include big-ticket times like mining trucks that go for close to half a million dollars apiece and are made by Trump voters.

All else being equal, my guess is that a Trump trade office will start leaning hard on SA to level the playing field — and perhaps even agree to relaunch negotiations on a bilateral free trade agreement — or lose AGOA preferences on a much wider range of exports than were threatened in the late and unlamented chicken dispute.

More generally, one can expect the Trumpsters to take hard look at the costs and benefits of all non-reciprocal grants of market access like AGOA.

There’s no evidence AGOA has cost American jobs. US companies have not moved to Africa to make things for the US market they were previously making in Ohio (though it could be argued that the cars BMW and Mercedes have been making in SA for export to the US might have been built in South Carolina but for massive SA subsidies and AGOA).

There’s no evidence, either, that AGOA beneficiaries have been falling over themselves to make their more markets more accessible to US goods and services. Indeed, with the commodities slump, there has been a rising tide of economic nationalism in countries like Nigeria. It would not be surprising to see the Trump administration become more aggressive regarding non-tariff barriers and perceived bias towards other trading partners, China in particular.

Assuming Trump’s basic campaign pitch bears any relation to how he’ll govern, one should look for Team Trump to consider its priorities in Africa through two basic prisms: the creation and protection of blue collar jobs and the elimination of “radical Islamic terrorism” (to use the phrase Trumpublicans seem to think imparts magical powers to get the job done).

The Trumpsters, on this analysis, will likely care rather less about Ugandan President Museveni’s aversion to term limits and treatment of critics and the LGBT community than about his commitment to the extermination of ISIS and his willingness to see that US firms get their cut of infrastructure deals and supply contracts.

If there is anything that is potentially attractive about Trump it is that his mind is open to ideas. He’s protean. Like the shape-shifting Proteus of Greek myth, he is intuitively, and infinitely, adaptable, which is why he, and not Hillary Clinton, is president-elect.

There is not an ideological bone in his soft orange body. He is about himself and his insatiable desire to show them. Who are they? The elites that have sneered at him his entire life as the vulgar kid of a vulgar father who made the family millions as a slumlord on the non-Manhattan side on New York’s East River.

Show him that the elites he despises have made a dog’s breakfast of US Africa policy and that you have an idea that could make fools of them all by turning Africa from a playground for the development set into a driver of American growth and security, and he might just listen.

The mountebank won

So the mountebank won. The electoral college system designed to protect slave owners did not redeem itself by protecting Hillary Clinton as almost everyone thought it would. Instead, it did as the founding fathers intended. It amplified reaction and the whitelash to eight years of President Obama. Now what?

The honest answer is nobody knows, not even the President-elect Donald Trump. We are in uncharted territory here. In the name of wanting its country back, a rancorous popular minority has handed the highest office in the land and the terrifying powers that go with it to man manifestly unfit for the position.

Denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance are said to be the five stages of grief upon bereavement. One is supposed to follow the other. Among those who thought it unthinkable, Trump’s election is inspiring much the same responses, but simultaneously and spiced with a generous dash of raw fear.

Will Trump take advice? Having steered to victory seeimingly by no compass but his own, will he let others guide him now? The hope — a mix of denial and bargaining, perhaps — is that he will surround himself with a wise and accomplished team to whom he will delegate the task of making America great again and to whose judgement he will defer.

The early signs are not promising. He has yet to make his horse consul, but he has named — as his first appointment — Steve Bannon to be “Chief Strategist and Senior Counselor to the President”.

If you were tempted to think that Trump’s crude appeal to America’s white nationalist id was simply an election tactic he would abandon once in office, Bannon’s elevation demands that you think again. This is a Rasputin figure. Trump may be a tabula rasa ideology-wise, as Obama suggested on Monday, but if Bannon is the guy who gets to do the writing on the empty tablet, be very afraid.

Here’s what John Weaver, a Republican strategist who advises Ohio Governor John Kasich, tweeted on Sunday: “Just to be clear, news media, the next president named a racist, anti-semite as the coequal of the chief of staff”. The latter, Trump’s second appointment, is to be Reince Priebus, now chair of the Republican National Committee, and supposedly some sort of consolation.

“I must admit I was a wee bit surprised,” the chairman of the American Nazi Party, Rocky Suhayda, emailed CNN. “Perhaps the Donald IS for “REAL” and is not going to be another directed by the usual “Wire Pullers” and does indeed intend the ROCK the BOAT?”

Republicans who want to believe in Trump point to the first half of Bannon’s resume: Navy, Harvard Business School, Goldman Sachs, all very establishment, at least on the shiny surface. They pay less heed to his role as chief propagandist for the so-called white supremacist alt-right and his description of himself as a “Leninist”.

“Lenin”, he said in a 2014 interview, “wanted to destroy the state and that’s my goal, too. I want to bring everything crashing down, and destroy all of today’s establishment.” His weapons for achieving this extravagant ambition include, the digital Die Sturmer of Trumpism, of which he was executive chairman before becoming CEO of Trump’s campaign.

Getting ready to shoot nine black churchgoers in Charleston, South Carolina, last year, Dylann Roof took pictures of himself with the battle flag of the pro-slave Confederacy. He gave his victims his reasons for killing them: “You’ve raped our women, you’ve stolen and you’ve taken over the country”.

The massacre triggered a national debate about the Confederate flag and whether it should continue to be flown on public property. Breitbart, which at one point devoted a special section to black crime, was having none of it. Scarcely were the bodies cold before it ran this headline: “Hoist it High and Proud: the Confederate Flag Proclaims a Glorious Heritage.”

Other choice headlines include: “Bill Kristol: Republican Spoiler, Renegade Jew” (an attack on the anti-Trump editor of the conservative Weekly Standard); “Gabby Giffords: the Gun Control Movement’s Human Shield” (about the Arizona congresswoman who was shot in the head while meeting with constituents); and “Birth Control Makes Women Unattractive and Crazy”.

You have to hand it Bannon, though. He’s a shrewd revolutionary. Breitbart is his tool for stirring up the grassroots, but where he has been really clever is in manipulating mainstream media. For this, he bankrolled a non-partisan research organisation, the Government Accountabilty Institute, to dig for dirt that would look plausible enough to chum the water for investigative sharks at outfits like the New York Times and 60 Minutes.

Work product included the book Clinton Cash purporting to expose the Bill and Hillary Clinton’s seedy money-grubbing and influence-peddling. The Times gobbled it up whole, and while much of it was subsequently discredited, the desired damage was done. A parallel expose aimed at the establishment Republican candidate Jeb Bush — Bush Bucks — received less attention only because the target imploded prematurely.

Second only “Make America Great Again”, “Drain the Swamp” was probably Trump’s most effective campaign trail catch line. So far he has only given the swamp a new alligator.

Gridlock if Hillary wins

By this time next week, one can but hope, the 2016 US election will be over. Barring a black swan event — which is to say one as improbable as that creature — Hillary Clinton will be president-elect. Then what?

Much may depend on the decisiveness of her winning margin. The race appeared to be narrowing in the final furlong. This is not unusual. FBI director James Comey has helped, perhaps unintentionally. News that his agents had come across a fresh trove of emails that might contain some sent by Hillary via her private server while she was Secretary of State perked up Donald Trump’s flagging campaign like a line of cocaine.

With any luck, the lift will prove equally short-lived. If the polls are to be believed, Trump may come close in the national vote next Tuesday but still lose fairly decisively in the electoral college. He has refused to say whether he will accept the result, asserting that the system is rigged. As, indeed, it is. The Founding Fathers rigged it to reduce the risk of the teeming North electing a president who might try to outlaw slavery in the agrarian South.

What would be dangerous in the present instance would be a replay of the 2000 election in which the Democrat, Al Gore, won a popular majority while failing to assemble a majority of the electoral votes awarded by each state on a winner take all basis. He lost when the Supreme Court awarded Florida to the Republican, George Bush, on the basis of still disputed recount. Gore conceded gracefully. Trump has offered no grounds for believing he would behave in a like manner. There could be blood.

A result that is clean and clear will test Trump’s ability to brand defeat as triumph. Branding, an art that has quite a lot in common with lying, is his peculiar forte. A protean character, he should have no trouble finding a formula if he wants one and, as it happens, there is a claim he can legitimately make. He has performed a useful service. He has turned over the rock of American politics and exposed what lies beneath.

Trump may be the Republican candidate, but by no stretch of the imagination has he been running as a Republican. Previously of no fixed political address, he putsched the Grand Old Party with rhetorical techniques that will sound uncannily familiar to readers of Volker Ullrich’s excellent new biography of Adolph Hitler.

He has come within sight of the winning the White House because a significant percentage of American voters, predominantly white working and middle class men, feel betrayed by the GOP of House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, not to mention the lengthy menu of presidential alternatives initially on offer.

Where will the okes go if and when Trump goes back to being a property developer and reality TV star?

Clinton is convinced that, for the sake of the country, she must make a play for their allegiance as profoundly as many seem to hate her. “If we don’t get this right,” she told the New Yorker’s George Packer in a recent interview, “what we’re seeing with Trump now will just be the beginning. Because when people feel that their government has failed them and the economy isn’t working for them, they are ripe for the kind of populist nationalist appeals that we’re hearing from Trump.”

“Getting it right” will be easier said than done unless the Republicans chose to draw similar conclusions from the Trump phenomenon and see their way to cooperating with the new administration. That seems unlikely unless Congress also changes hands next week. The best Hillary can hope for is a tenuous majority in the Senate while the GOP retains a lock on the House.

Things could get ugly. Doug Schoen, who worked for Bill Clinton as a pollster but has taken Rupert Murdoch’s shilling to be a Fox News talking head, drew attention to himself on Monday by announcing he had made “one of the most difficult decision of my life”: while he could not vote for Trump, he would not be voting for Hillary either. His reason: fear that the Republicans would try to turn the email affair into a new Watergate to bring down her administration or at least limit her to a single term.

“I am now convinced that we will be facing the very real possibility of a constitutional crisis should Secretary Clinton win the election…There will be no goodwill or honeymoon period for Clinton. Her…agenda will take a back seat to partisan division…with little chance on constructive legislative action.”

It is hard to see how withholding his vote from Clinton might rescue the country from Republicans bent on her political destruction through the criminalisation of political difference. But Schoen’s prediction of gridlock worse that anything Washington has yet experienced is not beyond the bounds of possibility.


Julian Assange, the founder of Wikileaks, likes Lord Halifax’s famous dictum that a successful political party “is but a conspiracy against the rest of the nation”. He thinks it applies to both America’s major parties, Democratic and Republican.

He calls them “conspiratorial power groupings”. A good way to bust them up, he posited in a 2006 blog post, would be to hack their internal conversations. A party of “conspirators” who ceased to feel safe sharing information with each other would “immediately fall into an organisational stupor and would lose to the other (party)”.

This year Assange has been given, and has gleefully taken, the chance to test his hypothesis from his bolt hole in Ecuador’s London embassy (where his welcome seems to be wearing thin along with his Internet access). The Kremlin — of this US intelligence is almost certain — has been supplying Wikileaks with emails purloined from the servers of the Democratic National Committee and the personal account of John Podesta, Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager, with which to sow fear and loathing.

From Assange’s standpoint the experiment has not been a signal success. The Democrats show no sign of stupor. They survived the DNC document dump that was supposed to blow up their convention in July by revealing — shock, horror — that the party establishment was biased in Clinton’s favour against the outsider Bernie Sanders. As for the Podesta emails Wikileaks started posting on its site last week, the mainstream media has thus far treated them with a collective meh. Next to non-Wiki-leaks confirming Donald Trump to be a sexist pig, they are thin gruel scandal-wise.

What I’ve read of the Podesta material — admittedly a tiny fraction of the 10-year, 50-60 000 item trove that’s been promised — is the stuff of any campaign. Staff and consultants discuss strategy, media relations and the handling of possible controversy, massage talking points, weigh possible running mates, share news clips and gossip, and, yes, doing a little bitching and moaning. Hardly the kind of thing that would move the average undecided voter either way.

Important exceptions, again in what I’ve seen, are the posts summarising or quoting Clinton’s highly remunerated remarks at events convened by Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank et al. One of the reasons they gave her big bucks was to hear her off-the-record insights into the leaders she had dealt with as secretary of state. She said nothing to suggest she was in Wall Street’s pocket. Rather she demonstrated considerable political adroitness. She did not tell the bankers they’d be able to go back to their old ways when she was elected. She warned them gently but firmly that they still had a lot to do to regain her and the public’s trust.

She comes across in these off-the-record encounters as a pragmatic, seasoned adult with a deep and hard-earned understanding of how progress is achieved in a system of complex checks and balances. Reform in America has, almost by definition, to be accomplished incrementally. Unlike her infantile opponent, she does not pretend otherwise, let alone present herself as a new Duce. Trump mocked her for drawing parallels between her own approach to politics and Abraham Lincoln’s. But Lincoln would not have ended slavery had he not found the words and inducements that would win over each of the holdouts whose votes he needed to accomplish his purpose. He liked to compare being president to steering a flatboat down the Mississippi. You have to navigate the bends and the sand bars. Steer straight towards your goal and you’ll quickly run aground. Clinton gets that.

Pretty obviously, the cyberthieves who have been feeding Wikileaks did not intend the Podesta emails to illustrate Clinton’s strengths. The Trump rump, convinced as it is that Clinton has horns and reeks of sulphur, will not share my reading either. Indeed, Trump is using the respectable media’s failure to rise to the latest Wikileaks bait as proof that the establishment deck is stacked against him and his “deplorable” following — and to construct a pretext for his coming defeat.

Trump will be a loser on November 8. Of that there is now almost no doubt. The question is: will he be a decent loser? Or will he continue to cry foul and whip up his followers’ pathological hatred of the new president, insinuating they were robbed by “the media” and by people of colour voting more than once. Whatever state actor gave the useful idiot Assange the fruit of its hacks hopes, I suspect, that that is exactly what Trump will do. Welcome to the new Cold War.

Knickers in a knot 

THE office of the US trade representative is conducting its annual review of African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa) beneficiaries to see if any are out of compliance with the act’s conditions. In 2015, SA was in the crosshairs for being difficult about American chicken, pork and beef. In 2016 the focus is on Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi as members of the East African Community (EAC). The problem is previously used clothing.

Source: LETTER FROM WASHINGTON: US getting its second-hand knickers in a knot | Columnists | BDlive

A Pigovian tax on sugar?

In 2015 Berkeley, California, became the first American municipality to implement a tax on sugary beverages to cut consumption. Set at about a rand a regular-sized can, the impost seems to have worked. But before the Treasury gets too excited, let’s note that the operative word here is “seems”.

Source: LETTER FROM WASHINGTON: Sugar tax debate produces no clear winners | Columnists | BDlive

An economy drugged by Big Pharma

Unchecked, the medical-industrial complex is poisoning the US economy as it sucks up an ever larger share of the nation’s wealth, using its economic muscle to buy political complaisance. The only constitutional way it can be stopped is through the election of a president who will say enough is enough, backed by strong, like-minded majorities in both the Senate and House of Representatives, and, ultimately, on the supreme court.

Source: LETTER FROM WASHINGTON: Big Pharma has drugged greedy US politicians | Columnists | BDlive

A lock on the House

Hillary Clinton could still lose to Donald Trump on November 8. It doesn’t look likely at this point, ongoing e-mail eruptions notwithstanding. A far safer bet is that the Republican party, however badly its presidential nominee crashes and burns, will retain control of the House of Representatives, making life exceedingly difficult for Clinton even if the Democrats retake the Senate.

Source: LETTER FROM WASHINGTON: Republicans deft at exploiting ticket to power | Columnists | BDlive