He's impeached

Well, it’s done.

We now have the third President of the United States that has been impeached.

And the second President in just over 20 years.

This could make things very tricky in the future if a President loses a mid-term vote as the Republicans did about a year ago in the House as it is the House that votes with a simple majority for the impeachment while the Senate with a two thirds majority vote [in a trial] to see if the impeachment is worthy of the President losing his or her job.

After the next mid-term election, if the President loses his or her majority in the House, he or she would have to walk a fine line.

Anything that could be considered even a very lightly illegal could lead to an impeachment.

How can Trump be happy with the outcome?

While some of the races haven’t been completely decided, the Democrats retook control of the Senate while the Republicans grabbed probably at least 2 extra seats in the Senate to ease some of the close voting that occurred in the first half of Donald Trump’s term.

The additional Senate seats was not surprising since quite a few contested seats were generally Republican to begin with but flipped to Democrats 6 years ago as President Obama won his second term and the areas were generally easily won by Trump in 2016.

However, the Democrats made big but not surprising gains in the House with only 2 seats [at this time] flipped to the Republicans but dozens switched to the Democrats. Most of those were grabbed in the suburbs.

At the traditional news conference the day after the mid-term elections, Trump pointed to “major” victories in races where he campaigned, particularly in Florida, Indiana, Missouri and others. He will likely downplay — or ignore — disappointments, particularly losses in governor’s races.

“Received so many Congratulations from so many on our Big Victory last night…” Unsure how he can call it a victory when he lost the House badly. In addition unsure who would congratulate him other than within the party. The only bright spot is that he has some slight security in the Senate but still not 60 seats needed to properly govern. He will also be forced to work with the Democrats to get most things done. He can kiss the Trump Wall goodbye.

“Tremendous success tonight. Thank you to all!” Trump tweeted before midnight. Yes, you lost the House and six states have new Democrat governors [almost all in usually Republican mid-west states] and no new Republican governors.

“Think of how his position with Republicans improves-all the candidates who won tonight….” Trump said [“his” being himself]. It sounds like the House and Gubernatorial votes didn’t exist according to him.

Not surprising Trump went on the attack by saying “If the Democrats think they are going to waste Taxpayer Money investigating us at the House level, then we will likewise be forced to consider investigating them for all of the leaks of Classified Information, and much else, at the Senate level. Two can play that game!” Except, the House is where most investigations do start. You think he has anything? Leaks?

He also said “Those that worked with me in this incredible Midterm Election, embracing certain policies and principles, did very well. Those that did not, say goodbye! Yesterday was such a very Big Win, and all under the pressure of a Nasty and Hostile Media!” What a nice guy. Claiming that those Republicans who lost, lost because they didn’t want Trump’s backing. Rep. Mia Love and Barbara Comstock are two he singled out.

“By expanding our Senate majority, the voters have also clearly rebuked the Senate Democrats for their handling of the [Brett] Kavanaugh hearings….” That doesn’t explain why he lost so many seats in the House. Most who vote for one party in the House will vote for the same party in the Senate. More like the Senate seats he picked up were generally “red’ states.

“This election marks the largest Senate gains for a President’s party in the first midterm election since at least President Kennedy’s in 1962.” Yes but these Senate gains all occurred in states Trump won in 2016.

He said Republicans faced “the most House Republican retirements in 88 years”. Which proves what? The GOP couldn’t find decent replacements? Maybe retirements are for different reasons such as getting away from the party’s leader?

“Last night the Republican party defied history to expand our Republican majority,” he said, adding that the Republican Party “(beat) expectations in the House.” Was he expecting to lose even more in the House?

Trump’s three most recent predecessors all lost House majorities in the course of their tenures. In post-election news conferences, all three took some form of responsibility. President George W. Bush called a 2006 rout a “thumping.” President Barack Obama deemed 2010 losses a “shellacking.”

The early exit polling suggests that two-thirds of voters said that their vote was about Trump, with more saying they came to vote to show opposition rather than support for Trump; nearly 4 in 10 voters said that their vote was meant as a sign of opposition to Trump.

Midterm elections are almost always referendums on the president and his party. And they are almost always negative referendums. It’s why the president’s party has not lost House seats in only three midterms since the Civil War.

Family members and friends, including ex-campaign aides Corey Lewandowski and David Bossie, and informal advisers like Blackstone chief Stephen Schwarzman, joined Trump in the evening for a viewing party, snacking on pizza and tiny hot dogs as they watched results come in on television.

Most likely when special counsel Robert when Mueller submits his final report to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, the House Judiciary Committee will be able to request it from the Department of Justice, and make it public if it deems that it is warranted. All of these actions will make it much harder for the White House to block or bury evidence of any alleged collusion or obstruction of justice, whether or not Mueller or Rosenstein are fired.

As an added “bonus” to the day, Trump fired Attorney General Jeff Sessions although Sessions handed in his resignation letter. In any case, Sessions is, not surprisingly, out. Most knew it would come sometime after the mid-term elections.

Matthew Whitaker, former Chief of Staff to Sessions, will take over as acting attorney general and is expected to take charge of the Russia investigation and special counsel Robert Mueller from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. Whitaker has been openly critical of Mueller and the investigation.

The Democrats immediately called on him to recuse himself as “given his previous comments advocating defunding and imposing limitations on the Mueller investigation” said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.

 

A short guide to US Elections

[Call this a mini guide if you wish. Some things are left out.]

Many people are probably very happy they don’t live in the US. One just have to look at the election process to see why.

In Canada, we have federal elections roughly every 4 years. Prior to the election, the government still in power decides the length of the election. The minimum number of days is 37. The maximum is generally twice that. During the campaign, there may be a number of debates. Usually after the election, if one party leader resigns [because of a poor showing during the election, an interim party leader is elected until a party convention. Between the announcement of the interim leader and the convention, various nominees for the party leader are announced. At the convention [over 3 days], the leader is voted on by the delegates [those who are members of the party].

There are separate elections for provinces and territories that can be at any time within their mandate as well as local elections which may or may not have a predetermined date.

Nice and simple. Something like this is typical for most countries.

Except the United States.

In case you somehow missed it, the US will be voting for their next election in early November [as well as about a third of the senate, various state propositions, etc.].

The run for the President actually start after the “midterm” elections [see after this].

From then, depending on whether the incumbent President can run or chooses not to run [can’t exceed two terms of 4 years each], either or both main parties [Republicans and Democrats] will begin the process of choosing a leader. Until about January of the election year it is primarily just announcing whether some will run or not as a nominee for part leader.

Come January, the primaries and caucuses begin. For about 5 months, a caucus is a system of local gatherings where voters will decide which Presidential candidate to support and then select delegates for the party’s conventions in July. In contrast, a primary is a statewide voting process in which eligible voters will cast ballots for their choice of candidate. Depending on the state, it is a winner takes all for who wins the state or proportionally allocated the number of delegates.

Over time, candidates will drop out and generally put their support behind their choice of candidates.

At the part convention, a final vote for the party’s nomination for President is finalized [plus various other party business such as a platform].

Then in early November, the US has their general election. In addition to a third of the senate seats up for grabs and all House seats, usually about 11 states have their gubernatorial and there could be additional elections for mayor, sheriff, etc.

In January the following year, the new government [or same if the incumbent wins] takes charge of the country.

Then the country goes on election hiatus except maybe 2-3 gubernatorial elections.

Then after that there is the “midterm” elections where there are many gubernatorial elections [maybe 35-36], all House seats, a third of the Senate seats and various local elections.

It is quite comment to see the President lose House and Senate seats – particularly if the country is doing well. A President with a minority in the House and senate will have a difficult time passing any laws unless there are negotiations with the other party.

Following the “midterm” election, the country goes on election hiatus except maybe 2-3 gubernatorial elections again until the process starts all over again.

Obama hampered by the Republicans

So President Obama had his big State of the Union address last night on most major US TV channels [why not CW and the others] and on many non-US news channels as well.

He decided that since the Republican controlled House only accepted 2 of 41 legislative initiatives [one was to stop the government shutdown], he will push his own unilateral actions with the first being to increase the minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 an hour for employees of federal contractors.

Would you believe the Republican did not want any increase and in fact some suggested lowering the minimum wage to just $3. The Republicans say that an increase in minimum wage would result in job loses. The old minimum wage has been below the poverty line since 2008. [Do the Republicans like having citizens in poverty?]

Obama may also push for some type of amnesty for illegal immigrants – maybe not full citizenship but something more official to the estimated 11 million illegal workers who do jobs that some Americans don’t want to do. That includes agriculture pickers, construction workers, etc. Republicans are against the plan.

Obama’s approval rating has dropped 11% since the previous State of the Union address. That is better than Congress at 13% and Republicans at 24%.

So while the Republicans are hampering Obama’s efforts to run an effective government, they are actually shooting themselves in the foot by doing so. It is their plan to cause legislative problems and at election time say Obama was ineffective. Of course he was ineffective – the Republicans blocked 95% of the initiatives.

Obama tried to push gun control and tax reform but the former was blocked primarily by the Tea Party elements and the National Rifle Association – this even after major gun shooting events called for more gun control. Just last week there was at least one major shooting incident each day of the week.

The biggest problem with the US political system is if the President does not have at least a slight majority in the House and the Senate, nothing can be properly passed.

Those who voted Democrats out of office in the previous elections are probably having second thoughts now.

[And why is it the Republican Party has a sub-party, the Tea Party?]