Politics Corner: Midterm Elections Heat Up

By Alex Santana

While many Americans will be looking as to whether Democrats take control of the U.S. House of Representatives on November 6th, there is beginning to be chatter of the Republican Senate also being possibly lost to the Democrats. According to The Hill, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said on Tuesday, “You can’t repeal history, and almost every election two years into any new administration the party of the presidency loses seats. They don’t always lose the body, but almost always loses seats. And so we know that this is going to be a very challenging election on the Senate side.”

With Democrats having to defend 24 seats in November versus just nine for Republicans McConnell says there are nine states that are right now “dead even”: Arizona, Florida, Indiana, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, North Dakota, Tennessee, and West Virginia. In Arizona and Tennessee, Republican Senators Jeff Flake and Bob Corker are not seeking re-election. McConnell described the election saying, “All of them too close to call and every one of them like a knife fight in an alley. Just a brawl. In every one of those places. I hope when the smoke clears we’ll still have a majority in the Senate.” Another seat that is in a tight race is that of Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz. His opponent is Democratic U.S. Representative Beto O’Rourke. Nevada’s Republican Senator, Dean Heller, is considered to be the most vulnerable of all incumbent Republican senators seeking re-election. Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton won Nevada in the 2016 presidential election.

According to Politico, Majority Leader McConnell “is planning to keep the chamber in session for a significant portion of October if not four entire weeks, costing Democrats key campaign trail days and allowing the Senate to continue its work into the fall, according to five Republican officials. The Kentucky Republican wants to keep cranking through as many lifetime judicial nominations and executive nominations as he can with his majority in the balance and the GOP still with the unilateral ability to confirm President Donald Trump’s picks.”

One particular Democratic Senator that could be negatively impacted by this is Florida’s Bill Nelson. Senator Nelson and the Sunshine state’s two-term Republican Governor Rick Scott have both raised millions of dollars for their campaigns and have launched attack ads focusing on each other’s record in Washington and Tallahassee. The 65-year-old Scott spent over $90 million of his own wealth on his two successful races for governor and is estimated to be worth over $200 million. The 75-year-old Nelson has served Floridians in some type of elected office for over 40 years and many believe the race will be very close, especially due to the large number of Puerto Ricans living in Central Florida as a result of last year’s Hurricane Maria. If the Senate does not take a recess in October this could mean less opportunities for Nelson to visit Puerto Ricans in the Orlando area, an emerging voting bloc in the state. Nelson also has to seek support from the Venezuelan American community in South Florida, many of whom have been fleeing Venezuela’s socialist dictatorship and crumbling economy. Scott is working to gain these two crucial voting groups as well as Miami’s mostly conservative Cuban American community. Many prominent people in Republican politics are supporting Scott including former President George W. Bush. He is a special guest for an evening fundraiser in Palm Beach for Scott on Friday. Many polls have Scott and Nelson tied and a new poll released Wednesday has Scott leading Nelson 46 to 44 percent.

If the Democrats take both the House and the Senate, President Donald Trump would have a difficult time passing his legislative priorities, getting his executive, judicial, and diplomatic nominations confirmed, and the possibility of being impeached by the House. If Trump is impeached he would be just the third president in American history aside from Presidents Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton. Trump’s unpopularity with the American people, a new book by Watergate reporter Bob Woodward, and an anonymous Op-Ed by a senior official in the Trump Administration could all result in Democratic control of the legislative branch if the President and his party are not able to focus on other issues like the economy and the possible addition of a second conservative on the United States Supreme Court, current Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit and Catholic University’s Columbus School of Law 2018 commencement speaker.

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