The congressional elections, which were held today, are more than midterm elections for the House of Representatives and Senate.
At first glance, these elections may seem to affect American domestic affairs since they are local elections specific to the legislature. However, the election results will have a significant impact on the system of government, the extent of the White House’s power to confront congressional authority, and, by extension, congressional influence on American foreign policy decisions.
The American president was the crowned chief executive from the time the Constitution was drafted by the Founding Fathers until the period after the Vietnam War and the Watergate scandal, when the authority of the president was fettered and checked by congressional oversight.
Now, President Donald Trump enters these elections holding his breath.
On the face of it, the elections may not be about President Trump, but they are ultimately a kind of referendum on two years of his leadership and on the performance of his Republican Party.
Trump is betting that his party will surprise everyone and dash the opinion polls which predict a victory for the Democratic Party in the House of Representatives.*
Trump believes that his accomplishments, particularly in the area of improving economic performance and financial markets and reducing the deficit and level of unemployment in an unprecedented way, will work for him in the congressional elections.
Opponents of Trump believe that this is the end of the Republican majority in Congress, or that the party of Trump will pay a price for his political madness, personal wars and populist style, which target African-Americans, Hispanic and Latino Americans, Muslims, women, LGBTQ people, advocates of civil rights and freedom, and immigrants, as well as the many pillars of the Republican Party and its traditional supporters.
Trump provoked all the forces opposing him and mobilized all the forces supporting him. The next few hours will reveal where Washington’s foreign policy is going.
*Editor’s note: The Democratic Party has regained a majority in the House of Representatives as a result of the Nov. 6, 2018 midterm elections.