To Take Back the House




This past Thursday was the 2018 midterm elections. These midterms were being billed by the media as one of the most important midterms in recent times, most notably the Democrats were looking to take back majority in the House, which they achieved. Only time will tell if the party is able to take advantage of this new control, but what exactly does this control bring and why is it so important?


Two Party System

Since the 2016 elections, the Republican party has had control over both chambers of Congress and won back the White House with Donald Trump and despite the Supreme Court being supposedly impartial from party politics, there were more judges serving who had been nominated by Republican presidents. This means all three branches of the United States government were considered right wing. The Democrats winning majority in the House breaks up this power imbalance and allows the party to ensure more contention or negotiation in terms of bill passage.


The House

Congress is a bicameral legislature, meaning two chambers make up Congress, the Senate and the House. Both chambers have separate but similar systems for bill passage with different rules and privileges. Members of the House are up for re-election every two years compared to a Senators six. This ensures the Representatives in the House are most available to the people. The founding fathers decided to give power of the purse to the House, enabling the Democrats to decide how to tax and spend public money. For instance if President Trump wants to continue to build his now famous wall on the southern border of the United States, he will have to appeal for funds from the now Democratically controlled House. This gives the Democrats a bargaining tool and will force the Republicans to prioritize what they would like accomplished.



The House also has the power of impeachment. As the Russian investigation continues, this particular power will be given a lot of attention. Though the House can not remove a president from office, it can initiate the process. Once a president is impeached the Senate must try them with the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court overseeing the trial. Though it is unlikely the Republican Senate will ever remove Trump from office it could cause months of distraction and scandal in the lead up to 2020, the next presidential election. Even if the House does not vote on an impeachment it will serve as another strong bargaining chip for the Democrats.


As a optimist I hope this change in party control leads to both parties being more willing to engage in compromise. Because for the first time in a long time both parties will have bargaining chips. This hopefully will make both parties feel that they can engage in negotiation and both get something out of it without being bulldozed. That was after all the original intent of separation of power. Only time will tell but no matter which side of party politics you land on it will be interesting to watch.