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FOREIGN REPORTFOREIGN REPORT
Another Election? There is More to Expect
Lee Jae Eun  |  leeje16@korea.ac.kr
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승인 2018.10.05  19:34:20
트위터 페이스북 미투데이 요즘 네이버 구글 msn

An event full of anticipation is planned to be held in the upcoming month. On November 6, the United States (U.S.) will hold midterm elections to elect new members in Congress. This election is significant in that it will set the bounds in American politics for the approaching two years and for times further beyond. The election possesses deeper importance beyond just the competition between Republicans and Democrats, as the transition it may bring in both the domestic and international level is hugely influential. Still, the results and certain outcomes of the midterm elections are in the rain, as the consequences are indefinite and yet too early to be determined.

 

The mid-term election process taking place on November 6 is an influential event in various aspects which are to be taken notice of. The consequences of gaining possession of the majority in the chambers is certainly an important matter for both Democrats and Republicans. Moreover, the performance of each party is evaluated and certain changes are planned to get imposed. It is also an opportunity to examine the overall atmosphere of the public opinion and the positions for each party. Diverse variables are to be considered, and turning points expand towards international stances.

 

Beyond the Competition

 

This election is more than just the competition between Republicans and Democrats. Rather, other factors influence and cause change in politics. First of all, the mid-term election is a matter of evaluating the performance of President Donald Trump. Both parties will reconsider the legislative actions taken in terms of crucial issues such as immigration, gun control, and health care reforms. Furthermore, the voting behaviors of the U.S. citizens is also a noticeable factor as public opinion towards this election could be an opportunity to evaluate the performances in politics so far.

 

Both parties, the Republicans and Democrats, take contrary stances when considering the future initiatives and performance of President Trump. Particularly, a Republican victory relies deeply on popularity and the imposed changes President Trump has aimed to impose. Recently, the president has been positively evaluated in terms of economic growth. According to Commerce Department data, the economy in 2018 has grown to the rate of 4.2 percent,which is the record held for the first time after 2014. Compared to the second quarter of 2017, which was reported as 2.8 percent, it is a progressive development. The U.S. economy has been boosting noticeably to a maximum level, with wages constantly rising and unemployment rates dealt with at a confident manner.

 

   
▲ Senate map for the 2018 election. PROVIDED BY CNN

Despite the active progress the Trump administration and Republicans portray, experts tend to be hesitant in taking the stance of anticipating a victory for Republicans. Critically, major legislative plans, such as health care reform, have failed. Moreover, even tax-cut measures were passed by just a few votes, lacking enough support from the respective members. Democrats hope to be successful in comprising the majority in one or both houses, while Republicans hold the stance in making progress for a strong economy and low unemployment rate.

 

Prospects for Change

 

The competition between Republicans and Democrats is a further extension of who takes control of the majority of both chambers – the House of Representatives and the Senate. Regarding the members of the House of Representatives, all 435 members are up for re-election, as members in the House go through election every two years to keep them both dependent and connected to the public opinion. Contrary to the House of Representatives, only one third of the members of the Senate is set for re-election, which explains why the Senate tends to change relatively slower than intended.

 

As always, if there are benefits, certain disadvantages and loss follows. Depending on which party takes control of the House and Senate, there are certain burdens and responsibilities that both Republicans and Democrats have to consider. If Republicans fail to take up the majority of the members in Congress, President Trump’s agendas for domestic matters will lack priority as Democrats will have the power to decide certain bills to approach the floor. Meanwhile, in the case of Republicans maintaining seats in the Senate, President Trump's policies will continue to be approved and hold priority to control the majority of the chambers.

 

One of the biggest turning factors in elections is the act of voting itself. In the U.S., it is highly evident that Democratic voters are much more active in voting, therefore increasing the chances to actually express this stance. However, the mid-term electorate shows a tendency to be more conservative than other elections. Therefore, this will also add to the factors of winning the election between a small majority or a noticeable difference. Moreover, the generation gap is always a subject to be dealt with during elections. The disputes between classes is an inevitable phenomenon due to the disparity for seeking certain values in each age group. Between the divergence, the factors of voting patterns and the voting behaviors of citizens is to be worthy of notice.

 

   
▲ Professor An Chong Ki. PHOTOGRAPHED BY LEE JAE EUN

Influence Expands to Korea

 

Although this election may seem quite distinct with regards to South Korea, it is surprisingly influential in terms of the relationship with North Korea. Depending on which party is holding the majority, President Trump's pursuit in actions regarding the foreign relations with North Korea will become either flexible or restricted. Professor An Chong Ki (Institute for Research on Labor and Employment) mentioned that the majority control of the Republicans signify the support from the citizens to President Trump and imply that he will be relatively adjustable in enhancing the relation with North Korea towards a positive direction.

 

The election taking place in November has more aspects to take notice of than just the competition between the Democrats and Republicans. The performance of each party and future legislative plans should be taken into consideration, as well as the voting behavior of citizens. Moreover, the mid-term election is a significant issue not only limited to the U.S. It is critically related to the future relationship with North Korea which is also influential towards South Korea. Keeping in mind of the various factors to look forward and the impacts it may cause, the upcoming mid-term elections is certainly a topic to be aware of.
 

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