Election Day is here and it’s all high-stakes in the 2018 midterms, with Democrats fighting to take back control of the House of Representatives and Republicans hoping to keep their majority in both the house and senate.
By casting their ballots, American voters have the opportunity to either stymie or accelerate President Donald Trump’s policy agenda.
As of right now, Republicans currently control both the House and the Senate. But that all could change tonight with Democrats currently holding an 88 per cent chance of winning back the House.
If Democrats win back the house, can Trump get impeached?
It is likely, but there are caveats. If Democrats end up taking back the House, we can expect to see more calls to launch investigations into Trump’s scandals and controversies. This is simply because the Democrats—being the majority party—will have more money, staff, and control over the chamber’s committees.
But when it comes to actually filing impeachment proceedings, it will take some time and political persuasion. First of all, the US House will need a majority vote to impeach Trump. But even if that ends up happening with a Democrat majority, the Senate will also need a two-thirds majority to effectively rule his impeachment. As of right now, Republicans are predicted to regain control of the Senate.
Furthermore, Democrats witnessed some hurdles in getting enough votes to to carry out Mr Trump’s impeachment proceedings. Last year, six Democrats brought articles of Mr Trump’s impeachment to the House floor. They all failed to gain a majority vote. But that might all be because Democrat leaders—like Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi—don’t believe it’s the right time or should be their party’s priority to impeach the president.
Why are Democrat leaders reluctant to support Mr Trump’s impeachment?
There are a couple of reasons: American voters and Mr Mueller’s investigation into the Trump campaign.
For the most part, Democrats have been reluctant to use “impeachment” on the campaign trail during the midterm election cycle. Why? Well, it might turn off voters.
Take former President Bill Clinton’s impeachment proceedings. Republicans were relentless in impeaching Mr Clinton, but that ultimately came back to haunt their party on Election Day. Democrats showed up in large numbers at the polls, thus gaining them five seats in the US House. Republican Newt Gingrich, Speaker of the House at the time, was overthrown.
Simply put, campaigning on “impeachment” could mobilise Americans to vote Republicans.
The other reason Democratic leaders are cautious with carrying out impeach proceedings is a bit straight-forward: They are waiting to see what else comes out of special counsel Robert Mueller’s ongoing investigation into election interference and possible collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign.
What could spring out of Mr Mueller’s investigation that could lead to Mr Trump’s impeachment?
A couple of things. First, it’s possible that there could be additional indictments following Mr Mueller’s probe into the Trump campaign. The other thing Democrats might be on the look out for is whether or not Mr Trump fires anyone overseeing Mr Mueller’s investigation: either the special counsel himself, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, or Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.
Democratic strategists seems that it’s likely their party’s leaders will hold off on any serious impeach proceedings until they are able to see what comes out of Mr Mueller’s probe, according to Need to Impeach’s lead strategist Kevin Mack.
“I don’t think Democrats will do anything until the Mueller report actually comes out,” Mack told Newsweek. “They might start some investigations, they’ve indicated that. On impeachment, I don’t think they’ll do anything until the report is complete.”
Besides impeachment, what else can happen if Democrats win back the House?
A lot can happen. It is likely Americans will see more investigations and subpoenas into Mr Trump’s campaign and administration. The Oversight committee might subpoena Mr Trump’s cabinet members in their investigation for corruption. It’s possible that the Ways and Means committee would request obtaining Mr Trump’s tax returns from Secretary of Treasury Steve Mnuchin, which could then be gleaned from to see if Trump had any business ties with Russia that could have led to Russian interference.
But for the most part, they could stonewall Mr Trump’s policy agendas. With a Democrat majority in the house, the party has the power to approve or disapprove of any legislation Mr Trump puts forward.
This is especially crucial for spending bills. In order for spending bills to be enacted, it needs to be passed from both the House and the Senate. With a Democratic-controlled House, any Republican efforts to cut entitlement domestic programmes—like social security—or funding for US-Mexican border wall could be blocked from passing.
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