By Finn Mayock
Published: November 14th, 2018
November 6th, Tuesday night, in a midterm election with unprecedented turnout, Democrats managed to flip enough Republican congressional seats to retake the majority of the house. However motivating this success was to the Left, after two long years of political domination by the Republicans, the Democratic victory was not earned without casualties. Republicans managed to retain their stranglehold over the Senate and managed to clutch three new Senate seats, further tightening their grip on the legislative branch.
Charismatic and promising Democratic candidates such as Andrew Gillum in the Floridian governor race and the ever-popular Beto O’Rourke in the Texas Senate race suffered heartbreaking defeats. That evening, the President seemed to discount the loss of the House, and on Twitter remarked “Tremendous success tonight. Thank you to all!” After the midterm election that concerned citizens had looked hopefully towards since the polls closed in 2016, the House and Senate are firmly opposing. Where does America go from here?
The Trump train grinds to a halt here. Well, it officially grinds to a halt in January, when the new election winners finally take their place in their respective positions. After January, we will almost certainly see a stop to a lot of the political success that Trump had enjoyed with the majority body of lawmakers firmly in his camp. Without that majority, there’s no doubt that far fewer bills are going to pass from the house, however, this does leave the promise of some genuinely bipartisan laws still being moved forward (yes, they do still exist!). It’s safe to say that most Democratic leaders would rather have little get done rather than an advancement of Trumps radically right wing agenda. But perhaps a more interesting result of these past elections lies within some of the house committees, where Democrats are likely to start ruffling some major feathers in the Trump administration.
Maryland Democrat Elijah Cummings is poised to take over control of the House Oversight Committee, a powerful board that has the power to look into the conduct and use of funding by government officials. Formerly chaired by Trey Gowdy, the House Oversight Committee has glaringly avoided several indecent spending scandals within the White House, such as Ben Carson, Betsy DeVos and the most recent embattled Ryan Zinke. While Gowdy was reluctant to investigate any misdoings by these cabinet officials, we can be sure that Cummings will not be so hesitant to wave his subpoena wand. Furthermore, since election night, there has already been talk of a likely subpoena for President Trumps tax returns. The document long desired by Democratic leadership has been closely guarded by the President, and may provide damning insight into the President’s personal finances, and could put Trump in legal jeopardy.
The trouble for Trump certainly doesn’t end with the House Oversight Committee. Adam Schiff, a California senator that has been aggressively outspoken against Donald Trump and has persistently questioned his ties to Russia will ascend to the Chair of the House Intelligence Committee. This committee, formerly led by close Trump supporter Devin Nunes, has had a disappointing year, with the premature and undeniably weak closure of the Committees investigation into Trumps potential ties with Russian individuals. We can be certain that Adam Schiff is going to re-open this case and pursue it vigorously. Furthermore, with the departure of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and the inevitable instatement of a non-recused official capable of tanking Robert Mueller’s efforts, there’s no doubt that the independent investigation into potential criminal conduct by Trump is in serious jeopardy. Crucial legislative protections for the Special Counsel, something Democratic Senators and Representatives have both called for, will likely be re-introduced as a result of the Democratic takeover. The question is whether January will be too late to save the Special Counsel.
It may not have been a blue wave, but the American people have certainly voiced for a change in the political status quo in this past election. The Democrats won’t have an easy time in Congress and will be certainly fought tooth and nail for any aggressive inquiries into the Trump campaign. The Republican held Senate too, is likely to clash heavily with Congress, and with the exception of bipartisan laws, such as the past opioid legislature, you can expect to see less results from the Trump administration than the past two years.
Despite this, the left has gained crucial oversight of the White House, and will be in a position to tame some of the wilder advances that the President has made. With the return of Mueller’s public investigation, we can expect to see a further unveiling of the prosecution into Trump campaign officials, and potentially draw closer and closer towards impeachable action against our President. The playing field is ever so slightly more level with the Democrats in the House, but there is still a long, tumultuous road ahead for the Democrats.