Midterm Elections

By Alex Santana

On November 6, millions of Americans will be watching to see if the U.S. House of Representatives will fall into Democratic hands and if the U.S. Senate stays under Republican control. 39 state and territorial governors, 87 state legislatures, and dozens of state constitutional amendments are also on the ballot.

President Donald Trump will be holding six rallies until November 4, including one Thursday, November 1 in Columbia, Missouri. The Missouri Senate race between Republican Attorney General Josh Hawley and Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill is considered a toss up. On Wednesday, Trump was in Florida, another toss up state which he won in the 2016 presidential election, in support of Republican Governor Rick Scott and former Republican Congressman Ron DeSantis who are running for U.S. Senator against Democratic Senator Bill Nelson and Governor against Democratic Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum. Trump will also be going to West Virginia and Indiana where Republican Attorney General Patrick Morrissey is running against Democratic Senator Joe Manchin and Republican businessman Mike Braun is running against Democratic Senator Joe Donnelly.

Two of Catholic University’s politics professors, Dr. John Kenneth White and Dr. Matthew Green, are currently teaching a fall politics course titled “U.S. Midterm Elections.”  

“This year’s midterm elections promise to be one of the most important since Republicans took control of Congress in 2010,” White said. “ Every early sign thus far points to record turnout, perhaps even exceeding 50 percent! This is extraordinary, since midterm elections are often marked by poor turnout.”

White also argues that the election is about one person, President Trump.

“This election revolves around one issue: Donald Trump. Unlike prior midterms, in this election all politics are national.  Previously, all politics was local, as members of Congress presented themselves to voters as effective ombudsmen for their districts,” White said. “Since Trump is the issue, the House of Representatives is up for grabs. For the first time since 2010, Democrats have a reasonable chance of taking control. The Senate appears to be in the hands of Republicans. In sum, voters are angry, and angry voters vote.”

In the House, Democrats have to flip 23 Republican-held seats, while at the same time not losing any of their own seats to take the majority, which is 218. If Democrats take the majority, many see Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) being elected Speaker again. If the Democrats take both the House and the Senate, President 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. The Senate is a different picture. With Democrats having to defend 24 seats versus nine for Republicans, many believe Republicans will stay in the majority and even pick up a few seats.

Voters will be looking at Trump’s first two years as president, the state of the economy, gun control, the environment, healthcare and the tax cuts passed by the Republican Congress. Also on voters’ minds will be the recent tragic deaths of eleven Jewish Americans at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania at the hands of a man who reportedly said he “wanted all Jews to die.” Also in the news are the thirteen explosive devices that were sent to former and current Democratic government officials, including former Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton, as well as CNN. No one was harmed by the devices and the perpetrator was arrested in Florida.

Dr. Green believes that the upcoming midterms doesn’t look good for the Republicans.  

“It is widely expected to lose seats in the House of Representatives, several governorships, and many state legislative seats as well,” Green said. Regarding why Republicans are not projected to do well, he said, “The main reasons are that President Trump is unpopular, Democratic candidates have vastly outraised and outspent Republicans, and the Democrats’ base voters are more energized.”

“The one bright spot for the GOP is the U.S. Senate, where many Democrats are running in states that lean Republican,” Green said. “Republicans are likely to maintain a slim margin of control in the Senate.”

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