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New leaders for Democrats after midterm elections?

US President Donald Trump said the White House enjoyed an "incredible" and "tremendous" election night

By: EBR - Posted: Saturday, November 10, 2018

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By   Hans Izaak Kriek*

US President Donald Trump declared victory in national midterm elections at a hostile news conference on Wednesday, claiming that Republicans beat expectations by retaining control of the Senate and thwarting the potential for an even larger blue wave over the House of Representatives. He said the White House enjoyed an "incredible" and "tremendous" election night. 

But Democrats won enough seats in the House to wrench control over the congressional chamber from Republicans, providing a check on Trump previously absent and robbing him of one-party rule across Washington. In taking back the House, Democrats will now be able to block party-line legislation and chair several critical committees with appropriations and subpoena power.

War of working together

It is a 'new day in America', the Democratic party leader Nancy Pelosi jubilated. "Today is about more than Democrats and Republicans. It's about restoring the control mechanisms to the Trump government."  What does this mean? The Democrats will start with a pro-active agenda with issue’s like healthcare, immigration and infrastructure.

 It can start investigations into his business trades and walks, or the long-awaited - but yet untenable - ties with the Kremlin. That can become a block on the political leg of Trump. The fact that Congress puts money in the construction of its border wall  with Mexico has also become more unlikely than ever.

A split power in Congress can further paralyse Washington. In a time when Republicans and Democrats are facing each other, it is unlikely that they will agree on many issues. Attempts to legislate will end in a stalemate between the Democratic House of Representatives and the Republican Senate. And what about an impeachment of president Trump? He dismissed the idea that he could impeached.: I don’t know how you can impeach somebody who’s done a great job. Look at the economic and the jobs.” Democratic leaders in Congress are telling their candidates to tread carefully.

Does Democrats need to impeach President Trump?

A day after President Trump’s former lawyer implicated him in directing a crime, Democratic leaders sharpened their election-year attack on the GOP as the party of corruption. But in an effort to keep the electoral focus on bread-and-butter issues, they largely steered away from any discussion of impeachment. Party leaders encouraged candidates and elected members to talk instead about demanding protection for the ongoing Justice Department investigations of Trump and his allies. 

In my opinion it won’t work. Why? First you have to confront a practical reality: It takes 67 votes to convict in the Senate, and there is almost nothing that will make 20 Republican senators vote to remove Trump from office. So, saying you support impeaching Trump actually means saying you support impeaching him in the House, then holding a trial in the Senate at which he will be acquitted.

New Democrats leadership?

Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi officially announced her bid for Speaker of the House Wednesday evening, starting what could become an uphill battle for the career lawmaker. Pelosi said she sent letters to members of the House both asking for their vote and sharing her plans for the next two years. 

"My vision for the next two years is to restore the House to the role it should have as a strong and independent voice for the American people and maximize the ability and the creativity of our entire Caucus," she wrote to members. " In that spirit, I am writing to respectfully request your support for Speaker and do so with confidence and humility. Thank you for your consideration."

While Pelosi is experienced, having held the role for about four years under the Obama administration, the possibility of her holding the role again was a divisive issue for midterm candidates across the nation, many vowing to vote against her. 

More than two dozen Democratic candidates ran on such a pledge – casting doubt about Pelosi’s ability to recapture the speaker’s gavel. In TV ads, social media posts, and media interviews, candidates from Virginia to California called for her ouster. Will she overcome opposition in her own party? A lot of Democrats has enough of the old leaders and they want new leadership. 

They are looking for a new direction in Washington. Interesting thing is that House Democrats decided to hold their internal leadership elections in December. That will give Pelosi, and any possible challengers, ample time to lobby colleagues and count votes. 

Interesting times in Washington DC!


*international political commentator for European Business Review and editor-in-chief of Kriek Media

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