U.S. MIDTERM ELECTIONS 2018 A Referendum on Trump, Author: Cinzia Chiriac

The midterm elections on November 6th marked two years since Donald Trump’s victory in the 2016 presidential election. The elections represent the first test of how the Republican party is faring in the eyes of American citizens, and their results can significantly shape the remaining two-years of the Trump presidency.

For the first two-years of President Trump’s term, Republicans maintained control in both the House of Representatives and the Senate. With a GOP majority in the two chambers of Congress, Trump has been relatively successful in accomplishing several of his major goals. Efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act have been initiated, a sweeping tax overhaul was signed into law, and two Supreme Court nominees are confirmed. But with a shift in party majority in the House of Representatives, Democrats can severely limit what the president can do in the final two years of his term.

In the House, 425 of 435 races are declared, and Democrats have achieved a majority. Capitalizing on anti-Trump anger and the retirement of many Republican incumbent representatives, Democrats were successful in securing 227 seats. To win control of the House, they needed a net gain of 23 previously Republican-held seats. So far, 35 seats have been flipped Democrat and only 3 of their earlier seats have been picked up by Republicans. In a best-case scenario, they could obtain as many as 237 seats.

However, the midterms weren’t a total loss for President Trump, as Republicans were able to maintain control in the Senate. With 33 of 35 races called, they will at least match their previous 51-49 Senate majority. Democrats were defending 26 of the total 35 seats up for election, 10 of these seats being in states won by Donald Trump in 2016. Several Republican candidates were successful in unseating Democrat incumbents in Missouri, Indiana, and North Dakota, where Democrats flipped Republican seats in Arizona and Nevada. Their victory in Arizona means they were able to expand their reach into traditionally “red” territory – something they were very successful in achieving in the House, but have yet to do in the Senate. The final midterm results are contingent on senate races in Florida and Mississippi. A recount is under way in Florida’s governor and senate elections as the current margins have fallen within 0.5%, and pro-Trump Mississippi will face a runoff on November 27th. Most recently, the president urged Florida to call the governor and senate races in favor of Republican candidates Rick Scott and Ron DeSantis. If Scott were declared winner, he would unseat Democrat Senator Bill Nelson.

So what can Americans expect with a Democratic House and Republican Senate? The answer remains unclear. With their first House majority since 2010, Democrats have the capability to block Republican legislative agenda, in addition to controlling various oversight committees with the power to hold hearings and issue subpoenas to further investigate President Trump and newly-confirmed Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. Although a Democratic House may introduce articles of impeachment against both Trump and Kavanaugh, the reality is that without a Democrat majority in the Senate, a vote to remove the two from office remains highly unlikely.

 

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