Donald Trump Will Weigh Heavily in 2018 National and Local Elections

With Donald Trump's presidency almost a year old and midterm elections looming, 2018 could be highlighted by changes in the national, state and local political landscape.We'll see whether Trump can implement his agenda amid the continuing investigation into Russia's involvement in the 2016 elections.In Texas, elections will determine if Democrats can end Republican dominance in statewide politics, and if the shape of the Legislature will change as a result of the GOP's hard right turn, or if Democrats can pick up new seats.On the local level, several Dallas County Democratic primary contests offer intrigue. Democrats also will try to win back the district attorney's office from Republicans, the only major countywide post they don't hold.Here's a look at the upcoming drama, which could be shaped by the county's mood over Trump's presidency.Big year ahead for Donald TrumpTrump ended the year with a major legislative victory: his tax reform plan.The upcoming year offers the chance to build on his agenda. He's already signaled that he wants Congress to take another run at repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act. As in 2017, that could prove difficult. But Trump has an opportunity to find common ground on a plan to rebuild the nation's infrastructure, should he decide to take that path.But the president will have to get his work done amid former FBI Director Robert Mueller's investigation into Russia's meddling in the 2016 elections, an inquiry that has already ensnared some of the president's former campaign and former administration officials.Another question: What will Trump's impact be on the 2018 midterm elections? Democrats up and down the ballot are banking on a voter backlash against the president, whose approval rating is at historic lows.Will the GOP remain dominant statewide?Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez has emerged as a great hope for Democrats. If she wins the Democratic primary, she'll have the task of upsetting incumbent Republican Gov. Greg Abbott, whose overflowing campaign war chest and popularity with his base makes him tough to beat. Valdez must get past Houston investor Andrew White, the son of former Gov. Mark White, in order to meet Abbott in the general election. Her campaign kickoff is Jan. 7, according to her Facebook account.  Continue reading...

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