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Wayne State professor says Trump was key factor in elections

November 15, 2018

The high voter turnout for the 2018 mid-term elections, the shifting political power in the U.S. House of Representatives and the maintaining of control of the U.S. Senate by Republicans all had one commonality: President Donald Trump.

According to Brian Hanson, assistant professor of political science at Wayne State College, some people exercised their right to vote in Tuesday’s mid-term election to oppose the Trump presidency while others cast ballots in order to support the president.

“People are very mobilized. Democrats are very mobilized by President Trump, and President Trump was able to mobilize his base of voters,” Hanson said. “We did see a bit of a blue wave, but the president was able to turn out his base of voters to dampen its effects somewhat.”

Democrats gained control of the House for the first time since 2014, while Republicans retained the Senate even though President Trump’s popularity has declined, Hanson said.

“Historically, presidents lose seats in their first mid-term, and especially if they have lower popularity ratings,” he said.

As both parties now share power in Congress, the shift in the House will bring the government in a more divided direction, Hanson said.

Trump’s administration will be more likely to face more scrutiny from Democrats questioning the president’s legislation, pressing for release of his income tax returns and moving forward with the ongoing Russia investigation conducted by special counsel Robert Mueller, Hanson predicted.

Hanson also said he thinks Democrats will not succeed in the impeachment of President Trump — if they choose to pursue that — due to Republicans’ control of the Senate.

“I wouldn’t expect to see impeachment. Democratic leaders would probably be very cautious going that far because it would never be taken up in the Republican Senate,” Hanson said. ”(The Democrats) would probably hurt themselves by doing that.”

With a potentially divided government, both Democrats and Republicans will face difficulty passing laws, especially farm legislation for agricultural states like Nebraska. Democrats tend to defend food stamps while Republicans tend to support agricultural subsidies, Hanson said.

“It’s going to be difficult for both sides to come together and compromise on some issues,” he said. “But it possibly creates a different opportunity for some different voices to get into the negotiations and change what’s in the bill — hopefully to the liking of both parties.”

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