Why the US Mid-Terms Matter
Matthew JAMISON | 15.10.2018 | WORLD / Americas

Why the US Mid-Terms Matter

This year’s mid-term US Congressional election is probably one of the most consequential Congressional mid-term elections for many decades in American politics. The result could not only determine the future trajectory of American public policy and political discourse for the next decade or so but also could shape the fate of Donald Trump's impending showdown with Robert Mueller's Special Counsel Investigation. The election itself is shaping up to be nothing less than a referendum on Trump himself and his policies. 

The possibility that the Democratic Party locked out of Congressional power in the House of Representatives for almost eight years now and in the Senate for almost four years could retake the House and improve its standing in the Senate is very real with each passing day before the vote on Tuesday, November 6th. The immediate effect of a victory for the Democrats in the House of Representatives would be a strong rebuke to the policies of the Trump administration and Republican Party over the last near two years now.

With the Democrats back in the majority in the House and perhaps the Senate they can start to roll back some of the early damage done by Trump and can certainly act as a barrier against further reckless, dangerous and divisive Trumpian Republican policies. A Democratic House would be able to set the domestic legislative agenda and critically spending bills, wresting control away from the Trump White House, much the same way the Republican Speaker Newt Gingrich did with President Clinton's domestic agenda after the Republican sweep of the Hill during the 1994 midterms.

Hopefully moves will be made to legislate to repeal the stupid, dangerous and reckless Trump Trade Tariffs or at least put a brake on further such nonsense. If the Senate is recaptured the Presidents room for manoeuvre in foreign policy could also be curtailed. Yet the biggest prize of all with these mid-term Congressional elections and why they matter so much is the possibility of getting Trump impeached and convicted, thus thrown out of office and perhaps into jail. I am not sure if the world would be able to survive a second Trump term due to the fact once re-elected Trump would probably feel so emboldened that he might go absolutely berserk and no doubt probably launch an all out military confrontation with some countries. We cannot afford for the sake of global peace, prosperity and security to let it get to that stage.

If the Democrats retake the House and either retake the Senate or improve their standing somewhat, there is a very strong possibility that Trump could face impeachment. Once the mid-terms are done and dusted and say the Democrats storm the House and the Senate remains evenly divided, Mr. Robert Mueller will no doubt wrap up his Special Counsel Investigation and present Articles of Impeachment to the House of Representatives to vote on. This could very well happen as early as January once the new Congress is sworn in. If the articles pass then the President will be impeached and it then goes to trial in the Senate.

The last President to be impeached was of course Bill Clinton in December 1998. After a trial in the Senate in January and February 1999 and a vote President Clinton was found not guilty and acquitted. To find a President guilty a two thirds super majority is required in the Senate.The Democrats did not control the Senate back in early 1999 yet the GOP were unable to muster a cross-party two thirds super majority. Given the fraught nature of Trump's relationships with many Senators in his own party if it did come to impeachment and trial in the Senate it is hard to say if he could rely on his own fellow Republicans to rally round.

What is without question is that an impeachment of Trump and then a trial in the Senate would make for quite compelling American political drama and would rock Washington DC and the American body politic to its foundations. There may be some who believe that Trump should be made an example out of and thus are prepared to push the Impeachment process all the way to a Trial in the Senate and possible conviction thus leading to his removal from office and even the possibility of his having to serve jail time. There is also the possibility that members of the Trump family such as his son Don Jnr and his son-in-law Jared Kushner may also face criminal charges. So, to be clear, these midterm elections have quite a lot at stake and are of much greater strategic importance than the usual run of the mill mid-term elections.

Tags: Congress  Midterms