Calls for impeachment as Trump loses Congress
Is it the beginning of the end for Trump? The Democrats won the House of Representatives last night, shackling his power. Exit polls by CNN show that 40% of voters now want him impeached.
It was billed as a referendum on Trump’s presidency, and one of the most crucial midterms ever. “[The] elections might be the most important of our lifetimes,” tweeted former President Barack Obama before the polls opened. “Everything we have achieved is at stake,” President Donald Trump proclaimed in a rallying cry to his supporters.
In the end, voters turned against him.
Though they held the Senate, gaining three seats, the Republicans lost control of the vital House of Representatives. Trump called the Democrats at 5:00am this morning to congratulate them on their victory.
But what does this really mean for him?
He remains president, but his power is severely limited. Losing control of the House makes it almost impossible for him to pass new legislation — or as the BBC put it: Trump’s domestic agenda is “dead on arrival at Capitol Hill”. Health care, taxation, immigration: any big plans he had in these areas are now on ice.
But for many voters, the midterms were about more than politics. “The very character of our country is on the ballot,” former Vice-President Joe Biden declared this week. For some, the Democrats’ victory represents a rejection of Trumpian ideals, and a fundamental shift in the direction of the country.
Trump had lead a divisive and racially charged campaign. He stoked fear of an impending migrant “invasion” and, at one point, shared an incendiary video portraying immigrants as violent criminals. Condemned by many as “racist”, even Trump-friendly Fox News stopped broadcasting it.
This divisive approach backfired. Democrats secured a surge in turnout across the country and earned far more individual campaign donations than their Republic rivals. A record number of female candidates also ran, seen by some as a reaction to the sexual assault controversies surrounding the president.
More dramatic battles are on the horizon. With their House majority, Democrats could try to impeach Trump and remove him from office.
Is this the beginning of Trump’s downfall?
Of course, some argue. The Democrats hold the power now. The Russia investigation is getting ever closer to Trump. If it implicates him directly, his opponents will have ample ammunition to impeach him. Failing that, this vote proves that Americans have rejected him. He may survive to fight the 2020 election — but he will not win.
Not so fast, other respond. The Republicans still control the Senate, where impeachment proceedings would be shot down. More importantly, the Democrats know that impeaching Trump could backfire. Any whiff of a plot to remove him would enrage his supporters and inflame political divides even further. Trump is not done yet.
- Would you vote for Donald Trump in 2020?
- Should he be removed from the presidency?
- Consider the term “politician”. In one minute, write down all the words and phrases that you associate with it. Share your thoughts with the class. What does this tell you about how politicians are viewed? Why do you think people think like this?
- Do some research into how the US political system is structured. Watch the video in Become An Expert to start you off. Write a one-minute speech which explains how the system works as clearly and concisely as possible. Deliver this speech to a classmate.
Some People Say...
“The ballot is stronger than the bullet.”Abraham Lincoln
What do you think?
Q & A
- What do we know?
- Midterm elections often end badly for the sitting president. On average, the president’s party has lost 32 seats in the House and two in the Senate in every midterm since the Civil War. For example, in Obama’s first midterms as president, the Democrats lost 63 seats in the House and six in the Senate.
- What do we not know?
- Precisely how this will work out for Trump. It is bad in that it allows the Democrats to prevent him making major policy changes. However, some argue it allows Trump to claim that the Democrats are blocking legislation for political ends, helping him garner more support for the presidential election in 2020.
- American general elections in which the president is not up for re-election are held every four years, near the midpoint of a president’s four-year term. All 435 seats in the House of Representatives were up for election this year, as well as some seats in the Senate.
- House of Representatives
- Branch of the government which makes and passes federal laws, in tandem with the Senate.
- The seat of America’s Congress, situated in Washington, DC.
- Trump repeatedly stirred fears regarding a caravan of immigrants approaching America from Mexico, and sent thousands of US troops to the border.
- Campaign donations
- As of November 2, the Democrats raised $649 million (£495 million) compared to $312 million (£238 million) raised by the Republicans.
- The most recent controversy concerns Trump’s support for Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. His nomination to the post was confirmed, despite him being accused of sexual assault.
- Charging the president with serious misconduct, potentially leading to his removal from office. To bring charges, impeachment must be voted through in the House, and then the Senate.