BY AARON GALVAN
Photo courtesy of AP Images. Voters wait in line in the gymnasium at Brunswick Junior High School to receive their ballots for the mid-term election, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018, in Brunswick, Maine.
As of Nov. 26, 2018, 39 seats have been taken by Democrats in the House of Representatives creating a divided government ensuring any new legislation proposed by President Trump is fought over when Congress returns to session next year. The divide is never greater in the United States that after such a polarizing midterm election.
With the election over one would expect to find some relief after having been bombarded with campaign messages and attacks ads thrown about with abandon. Before Nov. 6, the stress among Americans reached two-year highs. A sentiment found in recent polling “Overall, 53 percent of Americans say talking about politics with people they disagree with is generally stressful and frustrating.” according to Pew research. Enthusiasm on both sides allowing Republicans to keep the Senate while Democrats took the House of Representatives.
It is unclear what both Republicans and Democrats hope to put forth in the next session as Democrats are determined to investigate and demand information relating to everything from the president’s policies to his tax records. The potential conflict ready to be met according to Senator Lindsey Graham “If you want to take oversight and turn it into political games, I’ll play that game too” the senator told CNN in a recent interview. The looming fight ensured to rile up each party’s base but may prove ineffective. Politically motivated investigations having a record of turning up very little. The eight congressional investigations into the Benghazi tragedy showing incompetence rather than conspiracy.
A photo of minors used to criticize President Trump but whose origins come from 2014 during the Obama administration The recent events at the Mexico border with the migrant Caravan looked to have put a spotlight on the issue of immigration and asylum procedures that were not addressed by President Obama during his last term.
In 2014 when migrant families and unaccompanied minors were locked up, separated then sent home to the violence that prompted their original flight. Many of the pictures of children in cages back in March 2018 were blamed on the Trump administration coming from the Obama administration. The story was not hard to find from four years prior “They were shipped to Nogales from overwhelmed processing facilities in Texas. But they are children in cages. Not gangsters, not delinquents. Just children, 900 of them.” according to the Arizona Republic article. History having a way of repeating itself if the United States is unwilling to learn from its mistakes.
The cynical mood of the country evident in recent Gallop polling, suggesting the public’s pessimism in any negotiating between the president or Democrats being done. When asked by Gallop whether Democrats were willing to work with President Trump or vice versa the result was bleak “33 percent believe Trump will cooperate a great deal or fair amount with Democrats while 27 percent think the Democrats will do the same. Both percentages are well below what Gallup measured in 2006.” According to Gallup.
Not all is bad news as the country has not been this engaged in the workings of the government for a long time. As the recent supreme court nomination reminded the country that to be heard, one must participate in the political process. Prompting an increase in voting from the previous midterm “All told, more than 110 million Americans cast a ballot for their congressional representative in Tuesday’s midterm elections.” reported by National Public Radio (NPR).
But only time will tell if increased political awareness is a fluke or a trend here to stay or if extreme rhetoric on both sides is the only motivation to get voters to the polls. Perhaps a fire has been set with Americans to hold their representatives accountable for the direction the country is heading. Or maybe the new normal is partisan politics, higher stress levels and greater political engagement. A marriage made in heaven or hell depending on whose party is in or out of power.