Spotlight: Stage set for confrontation after Democrats take U.S. House
by Matthew Rusling
WASHINGTON, Nov. 7 (Xinhua) -- After a neck-and-neck race, Democrats won control of the House of Representatives on Tuesday night in the mid-term elections, while the Republicans retained the Senate.
Now, the stage is set for a knock-down-drag-out fight in Congress between the two parties.
DEMOCRATS WON HOUSE
Democrats clinched the U.S. House on Tuesday night in a tight race that went right down to the wire. The win will shift the power balance from a Congress that was solely controlled by the Republican Party (GOP) to one controlled by both parties.
Democrats gained more than 23 seats they needed to grab control of the House, after sitting on the sidelines since U.S. President Donald Trump took office nearly two years ago.
"Tomorrow will be a new day in America," House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat, said Tuesday night, during a speech at the Democratic Party headquarters.
Americans are divided over Trump. Those who like him tend to love him, and those who don't like him tend to intensely dislike him. This drove the House win of the Democrats, as left-leaning voters were motivated by their dislike for Trump to get out and vote.
Brookings Institution senior fellow Darrell West told Xinhua that nearly all Democrats and many independents don't like Trump's "tough stance on immigration, trade, and gender issues."
"Democrats won in the House because of discontent over Trump's policies," West said.
"(Democrat voters) feel Trump does not represent their political views and he has divided the country," West said.
Dan Mahaffee, senior vice president and director of policy at the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress, told Xinhua that while the Republicans were able to gain some vulnerable Senate seats, "the results in the House demonstrate how much suburbs, educated voters, and women have turned away from President Trump."
"Now it'll be up to the president and congressional leaders to see if they can triangulate in a highly polarized era to make some accomplishments possible or dig in for 2020," Mahaffee said.
REPUBLICANS RETAIN SENATE
While Democrats took control of the House, the Republicans decisively held onto the Senate.
Experts said the Senate's victory will ramp up Trump's leverage with the Republicans. Many Senators owe their wins to Trump's constant campaigning for them, as the president headlined over 50 rallies in months leading up to the midterms.
West said Republicans did well in the Senate because "only a third of the Senators were up for re-election and many of them were from more conservative states."
"So it was a favorable terrain for the GOP and Republicans were able to knock off several Democrats in more conservative states," West said.
The GOP Senate win also means that the president can continue to confirm his appointments of conservative federal judges, and his next cabinet re-shuffle will go without any hiccups, as Senate lawmakers will confirm his posts.
THE SHOWDOWN TO COME
Experts say the Democrats' House win sets the stage for a knock-down-drag-out fight in the Congress amid a deep ideological divide in Washington.
There are myriad issues over which Trump and Democrats will butt heads. And the soon-to-be Democrat-controlled House will likely launch investigations into the White House on issues ranging from Trump's tax records to relations with Russia.
Gerald E. Connolly, a Democrat representing the state of Virginia, said Wednesday that the country "gave us a mandate to provide some check and balance on the executive," hinting that his party will launch a number of investigations into the White House.
"This is not a time for holding back or being less than vigorous," he said as quoted in the Washington Post.
That comes on the heels of numerous similar statements from Democrats. Recent weeks have seen House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi vow that investigating the president's tax records would be the "first thing we'd do" if they won the House.
Currently, Trump is under an ongoing investigation from Special Council Robert Mueller for allegedly colluding with Russia to clinch the White House. Trump vehemently denied this, calling it a political witch hunt. Thus far, no "smoking gun" has been found.
Christopher Galdieri, assistant professor at Saint Anselm College, told Xinhua that Democrats now have subpoena and investigative power after Tuesday night's victory.
"Democrats have already announced plans to subpoena Trump's tax returns, and will begin investigating the various scandals in the administration," Galdieri said.
West echoed those sentiments, adding that there will be "lots of political divisions over the next two years."
"Democrats will use their power in the House to investigate the White House, subpoena witnesses, and demand documents. That will put them in a strong position to ... hold Trump accountable for his policy decisions," West added.
There has been much U.S. media speculation over whether the House might move to impeach the president. However, the GOP-led Senate would likely derail any such plans, experts and GOP lawmakers said.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Wednesday said the GOP would thwart any plans to impeach, saying Republicans would frame any such the efforts as "harassment."[ Editor: WPY ]