Tuesday January 22, 2019
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Democrats Regain Majority In The House of Representatives This U.S. Midterm Election

CNN's exit poll showed 80 percent of voters said it was important for more women to be elected.

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Adrian Avella and Mazeda Uddin react during the midterm election night party of Democratic congressional candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in New York City. VOA

Democrats retook the U.S. House of Representatives in Tuesday’s midterm elections while Republicans preserved control of the Senate, creating a divided Congress that will put up roadblocks to President Donald Trump’s legislative agenda in the coming two years.

The result, which was expected, also serves as at least a partial rebuke of Trump, who had held numerous rallies across the country in support of Republican candidates and repeatedly insisted the election was essentially a referendum on his presidency.

“Today is more about Democrats and Republicans, it’s about restoring constitutional checks and balances to the Trump administration,” said Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi of California in a victory speech at Democratic party headquarters in Washington.

With control of the House for the first time in eight years, Democrats can do more than just obstruct Trump’s legislative priorities. They will also be able to go on the attack, taking leadership of crucial House committees that have strong investigatory powers. Some Democrats have suggested they will demand to see the president’s tax returns and investigate his personal finances and business interests, as well as his 2016 presidential election campaign’s ties to Russia.

Donald Trump, democrats
U.S. President Donald Trump acknowledges supporters as he arrives for a campaign rally at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum in Fort Wayne, Indiana. VOA

“It is a critical check on Trump,” says University of Virginia analyst Larry Sabato. “Big legislation with an ideological tint, left or right, won’t pass for the next two years. Democrats now have the power of subpoena so Trump and his administration can expect to be investigated rather than protected by the House.”

But by retaining control of the Senate, Republicans will preserve the ability to confirm Trump’s judicial and other nominees. The Republican-led Senate also could prevent Congress from removing Trump from office, if the Democratic-controlled House decides to move forward with impeachment proceedings, as some have hinted.

‘Blue wave’ in House

Though votes are still being counted, Democrats are projected to pick up over 30 seats in the House, a little more than the 23 votes they needed to claim the majority. That is consistent with many pre-election polls and analysis that predicted a “blue wave,” a major Democratic victory.

The Democratic victory drew in large part on a coalition of minority voters, young people and those in urban and suburban swing districts, many of whom were upset over Trump’s style of leadership and harsh language about immigrants and minorities.

“The demographic crisis has finally hit,” says Evan Siegfried, a Republican analyst. “And in a way that is brutal and is decimating the Republican Party.”

Democrat, USA
Democrat Jennifer Wexton speaks at her election night party after defeating Rep. Barbara Comstock, R-Va., Nov. 6, 2018, in Dulles, Virginia. VOA

That trend was evident in the Virginia suburbs of Washington, DC, where Jennifer Wexton, a lawyer and state senator, defeated the Republican incumbent, Representative Barbara Comstock.

In New Jersey, Democrat Mikie Sherrill, a former Navy pilot and political novice, defeated Republican Jay Webber, winning a seat that had been held by Republicans for over three decades.

Though polls had suggested healthcare and the economy were main issues for voters, Trump was never far from voters’ minds.

Democrats. USA
Voters line up to vote at a polling place in Doylestown, Pennsylvania. VOA

A CNN national exit poll suggested 55 percent of voters disapprove of Trump’s performance while 44 percent approve of it. Moreover, 56 percent of those surveyed believe the country is on the wrong track and only 41 percent said it was on the right track.

Republicans keep Senate

However, Republicans are expected to increase their 51 to 49 seat hold on the Senate by three seats.

The White House said early Wednesday that Trump called Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell “to congratulate him on the historic Senate gains.” Trump also spoke with outgoing House Speaker Paul Ryan, who is retiring in January, as well as Pelosi.

Democrats’ Senate chances were dealt a major blow in Indiana, where Republican businessman Mike Braun pulled off an upset win against incumbent Democratic Senator Joe Donnelly. In Tennessee, Democrat Phil Bredesen, the state’s ex-governor, lost to Republican Marsha Blackburn to fill the seat of retiring Sen. Bob Corker. Blackburn will become Tennessee’s first female senator. And in Missouri, two-term Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill was defeated by state Attorney General Josh Hawley.

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Democratic Texas U.S. Senate candidate Rep. Beto O’Rourke embraces his wife Amy as he concedes to Senator Ted Cruz at his midterm election night party in El Paso, Texas. VOA

In one of the closest watched races in the country, Democrat Beto O’Rourke, who just months ago was a relatively unknown congressman from El Paso, narrowly lost to Republican Senator Ted Cruz. Still, O’Rourke, an unabashed progressive lawmaker with a gift for fundraising, is widely considered to be a prominent Democratic presidential contender in 2020.

Women’s role

Women also played a major role in the election.

A record 237 women ran in House races and 23 in Senate races across the country, including 185 Democrats and 52 Republicans. Their wins are likely to boost the percentage of women in Congress beyond 20 percent for the first time. Many stepped up as candidates in the last two years, energized by reports of Trump’s behavior toward women, the rise of the #MeToo movement that has publicized the pervasiveness of sexual assault, and Republican policy platforms on issues including the right to abortion.

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Democratic U.S. congressional candidate Rashida Tlaib celebrates with her mother at her midterm election night party in Detroit, Michigan. VOA

Christopher Borick, a political science professor and director of the Muhlenberg College Institute of Public Opinion, says the role women played in this election lived up to expectations.

“We’re seeing a vast increase in the percentage of women that will be within in the House of Representatives. I’ll give you an example in Pennsylvania, which is kind of the one of the most striking scenes. Before this election we had zero, not one member of an 18-seat congressional delegation that was a woman. Tonight, just in suburban Philadelphia, in the Lehigh Valley where I’m speaking from, four women won in a really tight area,” Borick said.

Also Read: Donald Trump Key Force In Driving The MIdterms Election

Winners included the first two Muslim women in Congress, Ilhan Omar from Minnesota and Rashida Tlaib from Michigan, and the first Native American woman, Sharice Davids from Kansas. First-time female congressional candidates also won in states including Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York. The surge reflects the preferences of female voters, who have also been motivated by Trump’s reputation with women and by candidates who have increasingly spoken on their particular issues as parents and employees.

CNN’s exit poll showed 80 percent of voters said it was important for more women to be elected. (VOA)

Next Story

The Great U.S. Government Shutdown

The Senate stands at an impasse while the nation collapses around it.

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The dome of the U.S. Capitol is seen beyond a chain fence during the partial government shutdown in Washington, Jan. 8, 2019. VOA

By Vishvi Gupta

The partial shutdown of the Government of the United States has now entered Day 31. With as many as 800,000 federal employees furloughed, the entire nation remains in a turmoil due to the longest government shutdown in the history of United States.

The shutdown which started on December 22 of 2018, due to the disagreement of United States Congress and the President Of United States on ‘Border Security Funding’  has followed us well into 2019 and still has bleak chances of ending.

President Donald Trump remains undeterred in his conquest to get the funding for wall, no matter who pays for it, it seems. In a tweet and several different speeches, during the presidential election race of 2016, the then presidential candidate Donald Trump promised that “Mexico will pay for the wall”. However, he now demands almost $5Bn from the taxpayers of the country.

The country’s senate remains at an impasse and the only ones affected? The people.

Thousands of federal employees joined hands in protests and social media to share their stories of how exactly the shutdown is affecting them. Many employees have had to set up Gofundme donation websites to get by or to meet their basic needs. The shutdown led the hastag, ‘#ShutdownStories’ trend on twitter. Even students who rely on free or reduced fee meals at school are impacted. The lunch menus at schools are being revised so as to conserve food and funding.

As the shutdown drags on, it sees many businesses also take a hit. Mohammad Badah, a local falafel street vendors who saw a steep fall in his sales said,” Usually I do in this area, like 60-70 customers, so far I did like 19 customers today.” Badah can now afford to operate only one of his two trucks.

Also Read: U.S. Senate Stays Divided Over Trump’s Immigration Deal

Meanwhile, there is no budging on the democratic or republican side. President Donald Trump proposed a deal to the democrats in which he backs away from a simple demand for border funding and now offers a 3 year extension of the program for refugees and immigrants who came to America illegally as minors, also called ‘Dreamers.’ Democrats, however rejected this deal saying that Donald Trump’s proposal is “unacceptable” and said the president’s proposal was “not a good-faith effort.”

The Senate stands at an impasse while the nation collapses around it.