In an unprecedented development in the US mid-term elections, at least one hundred women joined the election race and won. For the first time, two Muslim women and two native Americans - apart from two African-American women and two Latinos - became Congresswomen in the history of the US. It is, therefore, evident that mid-term elections on November 06 for the Congress - the House of Representatives and the Senate - turned the tide this year in favour of Democratic Party. They won majority of the seats in the House of Representatives, but the Republicans retained two more seats to become majority in the Senate - apart from two Independents, who, however, sided with the Democrats in the Senate.
It is on record that the seating President's party - whether Republican or Democratic - has lost on an average 25 seats in the House of Representatives since the end of Second World War. The Democrats retained 230 seats while Republicans 193 in the mid-term, while the Republicans retained 51 seats in Senate, Democrats 45 and independents 02. Senate contest in Arizona and Florida remains undecided and recounts are expected there soon. Democratic Party also captured as many as 07 Governor as well as state legislative posts and Republicans 03 Governor posts, while governorship remained disputed in Georgia. Results of governorship in some other states are yet to be clear.
Participation of voters in the mid-term election this year remains unprecedented. This, indeed, is in view of President Trump's irresponsible action - both internally and externally. The election this year has become a beacon in the dark - a chance to emerge from the political wilderness and repudiate a President whom they consider a 'dangerous force'. As reported, 38 million voters cast early votes on the day, which shattered records for young people and people of colour as well. Students this time walked out of their classes to cast vote.
The US Congress session is slated to begin in January, 2019. World-renowned linguist, dissident and author Noam Chomsky, who is now teaching as Professor of Linguists at University of Arizona and Professor Emeritus at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has described Republican Party as the most dangerous organisation in human history while talking to the Democracy Now news programme on November 5.
Since the Democratic Party has won the House of Representatives, President Trump has become somewhat erratic. He even declared, "Republicans would retaliate if Democrats use their control of the House to issue subpoenas to seek his tax returns and investigate his business dealings, his Cabinet's conduct and his campaign's ties to Russia." He stated this at a November 7 White House press conference while getting entangled with CNN Correspondent's question about Robert Muller's Special Council's ongoing investigations. In fact, Mr Trump seemed to have got annoyed with the CNN reporter and cancelled his White House accreditation. In his first press conference after mid-term election, he refused admitting to any responsibility for the losses incurred by the Republicans and instead blamed the candidates for the losses. Senate majority leader Republican Mitch McConnell toed President Trump's line of thinking who warned the Democrats, "how much Presidential harassment they think is a good strategy. I'm not sure whether it'll work for them. "
Meanwhile, former Speaker of the House and Democratic Party leader in the House Nancy Pelosi retorted the President by saying at a press conference, "we have a constitutional obligation for oversight. This does not mean we go looking for a fight. But it means that if we see a need to go forward, we will." The incoming Democratic committee Chairmen are expected to lead investigation into Trump's long-hidden tax returns, possible conflicts of interest with his business empire - apart from any collusion between Russia and Trump's campaign teams in 2016 election.
It seems both the President and the Senate Majority leader is worried about conducting investigation against the President in the new Congress. Meanwhile, another significant development cropped up involving the firing of Attorney General Jeff Sessions by the President on November 7. The President has now replaced him with Matthew Whitaker who was the Chief of Staff to the immediate-past Attorney General. This replacement invited countrywide protests against Mr Trump on November 8. On November 9, Senate Minority leader Chuck Schumer challenged the President's authority to appoint Whitaker as acting Attorney General who is a political appointee and was not confirmed by the Senate. This dramatic decision by the President reminds us of President Richard Nixon's Saturday Night Massacre in 1973 when both Attorney General and Deputy Attorney General resigned after the President's order to fire the special prosecutor investigating Watergate Scandal.
In view of the present drama enacted by the US President, the Democrats in the House of Representatives would look for Article 1, section 2, clause 5 in the constitution, which indicates that the House of Representatives shall choose their Speaker, and other officers and shall have the sole impeachment authority. Equally, Article 1, Section 9 and Clause 8 is applicable against the President, who prohibits accepting any present, emolument from any king, prince or foreign state. In June this year, five Democrats in the House of Representatives signed a resolution to impeach President on five grounds and at least two newly-elected Democrats raised the issue. We have to wait to see which way the wind moves.
Mohammad Amjad Hossain is a retired diplomat.
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