Results of US Congress elections to determine vectors of further state policy
2 November 2018. PenzaNews. Less than a week remains before the US midterm congressional elections scheduled for Tuesday, November 6th. During the vote, 35 of 100 senators, 435 congressmen, and 39 state and territory governors will be elected.
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According to the results of a public opinion poll conducted by The Washington Post and the ABC News channel, Democrats have a better chance of winning: 53% of respondents are ready to vote for them, and only 42% – for Republicans.
However, many political analysts are skeptical of this data, because two years ago, such studies suggested that Hillary Clinton is favored to win the presidency with a margin of 70% to 90% of the vote.
Analyzing the power dynamics shortly before the vote, Henry Brands, a historian at the University of Texas at Austin, member of the Society of American Historians and the Philosophical Society of Texas, said that events can develop according to various scenarios, which are quite difficult to predict.
“All I can say at this point is: wait and see,” the expert told PenzaNews.
At the same time, in his opinion, the victory of the Democrats in the elections to the House of Representatives can significantly complicate legislative projects in the United States.
“If the Democrats gain control of the House, they will launch investigations into the administration and can probably block further important legislation,” Henry Brands said stressing that they might even consider articles of impeachment against the president.
According to Charles Henry, Professor Emeritus of African American Studies at the University of California at Berkeley, the Democrats will launch impeachment proceedings only if the Mueller report contains evidence of impeachable offenses.
“However, I doubt that the Senate would vote to impeach if the Republicans are in control,” the expert noted.
In his opinion, the most important point for the outcome of the vote will be voter turnout.
“I expect it to be high. Not only do Democrats and Independents need to turnout but in states controlled by Republicans they face a number of obstacles seeking to disenfranchise them. Georgia is an excellent example of this,” Charles Henry added.
Meanwhile, Graham Dodds, Department of Political Science, Concordia University, shared the view that it is difficult to accurately predict the results of elections in the United States.
“However, odds are that Democrats will win enough seats in the House of Representatives to capture a majority, while Republicans might well add to their majority in the Senate, resulting in a Congress with split partisan control,” the analyst said.
According to him, a Democratic House would be a huge block on many Donald Trump’s initiatives.
“It’s hard to see a Democratic House voting to build a wall on the border with Mexico, to pass more tax cuts, or to reduce regulations. Also, if Democrats win the House, they could launch various investigations about Trump and his administration. They could also initiate impeachment proceedings. But even if a Democratic House were to impeach Trump, odds are he would not be removed from office by the Senate, as there would not be enough Democrats there to do so,” Graham Dodds said.
“November’s elections will largely determine the political dynamics of the next two years, which will in turn very much influence the presidential election in 2020,” he added.
In turn, Ryan Hurl, Department of Political Science, the University of Toronto, expressed confidence that the geography of the Senate elections is not in the Democrats favour this year.
“Every 2 years one third of the Senate is up for election, and the ‘Class of 2018’ features many Democratic Senators who hail from states won by Trump [in presidential election]. Thus for years most observers have been predicting that the GOP will retain control of the Senate in 2018. Nothing has happened that would lead me to change this prediction,” the expert said.
At the same time, in his opinion, representatives of the opposition party have a chance to be defeated in the upcoming vote.
“Usually, the President's party loses seats in mid-term elections – this was definitely the experience of President Barack Obama. However, the pattern does not hold. I think there is a small possibility that the 2018 election will look like the 1998 election,” Ryan Hurl said.
“I think it is possible that the Democratic advantage in this election – driven mostly by distaste for President Trump amongst suburban and upper middle class voters – has been undercut by controversy over Justice Kavanaugh, and the emergence of varieties of extremism on the Democratic left, advocating violence and incivility, open borders, massive expansion of the welfare state at a time of trillion dollar deficits,” the analyst explained.
Meanwhile, Edward Lozansky, President and Founder of the American University in Moscow, also expressed the opinion that the previously predicted victory of Democrats in the elections to the House of Representatives is becoming less obvious.
“Currently, the situation has changed significantly. Now the so-called ‘blue’ wave of Democrats is losing its intensity, and the Republican ‘red’ wave is gaining momentum. This is due to several factors: the impressive success of Trump on the domestic front, which includes economic growth, historically low unemployment, the strengthening of the Supreme Court in favor of Republicans, and ineffectiveness of Special Counsel Mueller's investigation of Trump's ‘collusion’ with Moscow,” the expert explained.
According to him, “a multi-thousand caravan of migrants from Latin America towards the border of the United States and Mexico” also plays its role, since “the Democrats prevent the construction of a wall holding back the influx of illegal immigrants.”
“For these reasons, polls show that the Republicans will definitely keep control of the Senate, and that the Democrats still have chances to win the House of Representatives, but the gap in the rating is significantly reducing day by day,” Edward Lozansky said.
“In any case, Trump is not going to be impeached and will stay in the White House until the end of his first term. Moreover, he has already begun active preparations for the next elections in 2020,” the analyst added.
Meanwhile, Kyle Kondik, Managing Editor of Sabato’s Crystal Ball, University of Virginia Center for Politics, expressed confidence that the Republicans will hold the Senate and increase their presence in it.
“The Democrats have to defend many incumbent senators in states that President Trump won in the last presidential election. In the House, Democrats are in better position to win the majority but that is not guaranteed,” Kyle Kondik said.
According to him, House Democratic leaders do not seem to want to pursue impeachment at this time even if they do take control of the House.
In turn, Daniel Chirot, the author of Modern Tyrants, Professor of Russian and Eurasian Studies at Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies, University of Washington, suggested that if the Democrats return control of the House of Representatives, the voting gap may be minimal.
“No serious analyst thinks that the result is already decided. Similarly, almost all analysts believe the Republicans will keep the Senate,” the expert said.
“If the Democrats win the House it would become impossible for the President and his Republican Party to pass any of their more desired legislation, like further tax cuts or cutting social security and Medicare. Politics would become even more divisive and bitter, and the American government would become largely paralyzed,” Daniel Chirot concluded.