U.S Elections: Voters Send A Message

Nov 7, 2018 By Deepa Gopal
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The citizens of the U.S have spoken. After a hotly contested election, the people have handed a divided Congress to President Trump.

As we had explained in our earlier article, the U.S Congress consists of the House and the Senate. The U.S Senate has 100 seats, made up of two elected senators from each state. While a few results are still rolling in, Republicans have secured 51 seats in the Senate, giving them the majority. 

The U.S House of Representatives has 435 seats made up of elected members from districts in each state. Democrats have secured 223 seats so far, but it is enough to have won the majority. The 2018 elections also saw some impressive firsts with several women, some as young as 29 years, win seats. 

A Night For Women

The night belonged to the many women who broke barriers to win seats in Congress.

The first African-American woman from Massachusetts. The first two Muslim women from Michigan and Minnesota. The first two Native-American women from Kansas and New Mexico. The first two Hispanic women from Texas. Two of the youngest women in Congress from New York and Iowa. So far, at least 92 women have won House seats, and 10 new women (in addition to existing 10) will be joining the Senate.

Among Governor races, more states elected Republicans including some states in the North-east which are typically Democrat. One state where the results are being contested is Georgia where many registered voters (mostly African-Americans) found that their votes did not count and new voter applications were put on hold (known as voter suppression). Stacey Abrams, a Democrat and the first African-American woman running for Governor has blamed her opponent, Brian Kemp, a Republican, who was in charge of overseeing elections in the state. 

A Message From Voters

One thing is clear from the results. The U.S is deeply divided and the voters have sent a message to the President that they want the parties to work together.

The founding fathers had separated the responsibilities of the House and the Senate. While the House works on taxes and spending, the Senate focuses on nominations of justices and treaties with other nations. However, any bills need to be approved by both House and Senate. This means that any controversial bill will not pass, and this kind of Congress is called a lame-duck.

The Democrats in the House will nominate a speaker and it is not yet clear if it will be Nancy Pelosi from California. President Trump will have to figure out how to work with the House Democrats.

One issue that has been weighing on the current government is the investigation into whether Donald Trump colluded (worked secretly) with Russia to win the presidency in 2016. There have been ongoing investigations by Robert Mueller, a special counsel appointed by the Congress. In a surprising move, on the day after the 2018 elections, Trump fired Jeff Sessions - his Attorney-General who had refused to interfere in Mueller's investigation. Instead, he has appointed Matthew Whittaker temporarily, who is a Trump supporter. What this means for the country remains to be seen.

Sources: NYTimes, Vox, Fox