Mid-term election takes centre stage in America  

Mohammad Amjad Hossain from Virginia, USA     | Published: October 19, 2018 21:30:43 | Updated: October 26, 2018 20:53:04


There is a common perception that democracy, by and large, exists in the United States of America. This has been reflected through the 16th USA President Abraham Lincoln's famous notion of democracy: government of the people, by the people, for the people. Although presidential election in every four years assumes spectacular enthusiasm in the country, congressional polls do not receive much enthusiasm. Congressional election takes place every two years. Congress is composed of two tiers: House of Representatives and the Senate. During the mid-term election, 435 members of the House of Representatives and 35 Senators out of 100 are re-elected every two years.

This year, the mid-term election has assumed importance in view of President Donald Trump's erratic actions and maintenance of distance with the global leadership - apart from antagonising close allies of the US while supporting dictatorial regimes. On top of this, disappearance of Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi, a permanent US resident and a columnist of The Washington Post, from Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 02 has caused a sort of unease within the Trump administration.

President Trump is reported to have said that the US does not go by the suggestion to stop supplying arms and ammunition to Saudi Arabia to fulfil the deal signed by the USA and Saudi Arabia during President Trump's first official visit to Riyadh in May, 2017. By now, the President himself has spoken to the King of Saudi Arabia and subsequently with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. But both of them denied having any information of Jamal Khashoggi. Having received criticism from both the Republican and Democrat lawmakers, President Trump has apparently changed his stance and warned that Saudi Arabia deserves "severe punishment" (if found responsible in the act) and dispatched his Secretary of State Mr. Pompeo to Saudi Arabia and Turkey to look into the disappearance of Khashoggi.

Disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi has become a major topic in the US just before the mid-term election to the House of Representatives and the Senate in ensuing November 06. Mid-term election takes place in 50 states of the US simultaneously, apart from election of 36 governors as well. Election to the city councils takes place at the same time. Immigration policy, criminal justice system, healthcare, gun control, social security, medicare funding, drug price control and voter suppression policy will dominate this year's in mid-term election.

The issue of appointing Judge Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court has become an issue in this year's campaign. Women in large numbers have demonstrated in front of the Congress and Supreme Court against Judge Kavanaugh's appointment to the Supreme Court while as many as 29 Law Professors from Yale and Harvard Universities have spoken against fitness of Kavanaugh. As a matter of fact, a Judge in the Supreme Court remains a Judge until his death. The major concern of the voters this year - particularly the retirees and aged people - are related to social security fund that is likely to fall short by 2034, apart from privatising plan by the Republican lawmakers.

The Republicans are also clamouring to increase eligibility age from 62 to 65 for entitlement of social security. It is not sure whether privatisation of postal department will dominate the election. Because, President Trump sought to punish the owner of Amazon in view of his ownership of The Washington Post, which, by and large, projects the President unfavourably.

Political scholar Norman Ornstein thinks this is one of the consequential elections in the life of Americans. The defeat of the Republican Party in the mid-term election depends on the Democratic Party's mechanism. Successful bidding by Democratic Party in the election may lead to impeachment of the President as five Democrats in the House of Representatives signed a resolution in June last year on five grounds to impeach the President. These are: undermining of federal judiciary, obstructing justice, drawing profit from his businesses flouting constitution's two emolument clauses and hindering freedom of press. The Democrat Party could take up the resolution if the party secures majority seats in the House of Representatives.

Mohammad Amjad

Hossain is a retired diplomat. amjad.21@gmail.com

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