Asst. Opinions Editor
A couple of weeks ago, former President Donald Trump was acquitted by the Senate in his impeachment trial, once again, because of the Republican party. Trump was first impeached because a formal House inquiry alleged that he had solicited foreign interference in the 2020 U.S. presidential election in order to help with his re-election bid. Having now been acquitted twice, this shows the power Trump holds over the Republican party, and how much of a child he is, as he has played the victim in both impeachment trials.
Trump was impeached this second time around for abusing his power through inciting a violent insurrection against the government of the U.S., just barely a week after he encouraged a mob of his supporters to storm the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. I personally believe Trump should have been impeached by the Senate instead of being acquitted again. He is the first president in U.S. history to be impeached by the House twice, and the first to be tried for impeachment after leaving office. Trump deserves jail time and to be impeached. Yet, he hasn’t been, and we need to accept that now. As a Democrat, I believe we need to focus on things we currently have the ability to change and make a difference in, like the midterm elections.
In the 2022 midterm elections, there will be many high-profile races that will take place in states such as Georgia, Pennsylvania, and Arizona. These are likely to be central to Democratic hopes in 2024 for keeping the White House. The House delegation — now at 53, but likely to drop by one seat after the new redistricting — stood at 46 Democrats and only seven Republicans after the 2018 elections. In the last year, four of those seats have gone to Republicans, which has come as a surprise, as Democrats have had control over the House for the past couple of years.
According to the New York Times, the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) has come up with a list naming 47 Democrats that they would like to target in the 2022 midterms in the House. This list includes the names of moderates like Representatives Abigail Spanberger of Virginia and Conor Lamb of Pennsylvania (both have been leaning more left in the past recent months). It also includes 25 Democrats who were first elected in the Democrats’ 2018 wave election — six of whom represent districts that voted for Donald Trump in November of last year. This list came out three months after the 2020 elections, when the House Republicans outperformed pre-election polling and flipped 15 Democratic-held seats. This gives the Democratic Party a five-seat majority in the House and sole control over the Senate by the tie-breaking vote of Vice President Kamala Harris. The odds of Democrats maintaining a trifecta after Nov. 8, 2022 are not looking so good for those who want to keep the power within our party.
The 2022 midterms could possibly be another referendum for former President Donald Trump, as midterms typically serve as a referendum on the incumbent president (Biden) and his record. This has been happening since World War II, as Presidents with an approval rating under 50 percent have lost an average of 37 House seats when going into midterm elections. Examples of this are Truman in 1946 and 1950, Johnson in 1966, Carter in 1978, Reagan in 1982, Clinton in 1994, Obama in 2010 and 2014, and Trump in 2018. Currently, President Biden’s approval rate is 53.2 percent, which is very low for being a newly-elected president. However, this is better than Trump’s at the beginning of his presidency, although his ratings were very steady. Trump’s approval rating had a high of 47 percent, and a low of 38 percent, so he stayed at a nine-point average for his entire presidency.
In my opinion, Trump should have gotten a lower rating because of how poorly performed his actions were as president: he pardoned war criminals, vetoed the bipartisan National Defense Authorization Act, ordered the drawdown of nearly all U.S. forces in Afghanistan and Iraq, put millions in limbo by threatening to veto coronavirus relief, refused to accept the results of an election he lost — or his own responsibility for losing, and discussed imposing martial law at an Oval Office meeting. These are reasons as to why the Democrat’s trifecta needs to happen in the midterms; we can’t have another Trump type of era in 2022, or in any following years.
There are many obstacles standing in the way of having a successful trifecta in the 2022 midterms, one of them being how Biden will lead us through the COVID-19 pandemic within the next two years, both economically and in terms of public health. If the Biden administration confidently leads the country to a successful public-health and economic recovery, a referendum on the first two years of the presidency could turn out well. Another possibility could be that Trump’s unique character and his continued domination of the GOP could make 2022 the year in which his party gains majority power, as he isn’t shying away from the public eye anytime soon. I believe he, and those who support his brand of politics, is going to play a much more significant role in the midterm elections, and attempt to make the midterms a vindication of his thwarted 2020 campaign. This may cause Democrats to make the 2022 midterms about Trump in order to make sure he stays out of office in 2024.
Democrats should not make the midterms about Donald Trump because we are very close to losing seats in the House of Representatives, which would put us at a great disadvantage. On average, the president’s party has lost 27 House seats in midterm elections. The NRCC believes a handful of Democrats who underperformed President Biden may be vulnerable against better-funded challengers. This is why we, as a party, need to focus on the midterms, and not impeaching Trump. Conservatives are gunning for Democrat’s seats in the House, and this will take away the power we have had in office for the past couple of years. This means that things the American people depend on in their daily lives, such as The Affordable HealthCare Act, could be stripped away. There could be more far-right Supreme Court Judges, more tax breaks for the rich, and the possible chance that Donald Trump could win the 2024 election. These are all things at stake if the Democrats don’t get it together and focus on the midterm elections, which are in two years, instead of the bigot that is Trump.
Featured Image: Courtesy of Brendan Smialowski