American Consequences - January 2019

power has shifted from Republican control of both the Senate and House to a Republican Senate and a Democratic House, poised to battle each other under a Republican president who is under fire. How can American political history help us anticipate what might be in the offing? CONGRESSIONAL DIVISION MEANS CONFLICT The Democratic takeover of the House was not unusual. The party not in power in the White House usually gains ground during midterm elections. That’s especially true in the House of Representatives, where all seats are up for grabs every two years. Four previous midterm elections that produced divided Congresses suggest what to expect over the next two years. In 1890 and 1910, Democratic majorities in the House brought an end to the agendas of presidents Benjamin Harrison and William Howard Taft, both Republicans, and set the stage for Democratic triumphs in the presidential contests of 1892 and 1912. Harrison had promoted tariffs and federal protection for black voters, but neither policy stood a chance of legislative success given the Democrats’ House majority.


January 2019

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