One of the great opportunities we Americans have in our government is our right to vote. Some countries have the leadership passed on through a family, while others may have a struggle for power between the strongest forces in the country. But the citizens of the U.S. get to elect the public officials. While the highlight race comes every four years for the presidency, there are elections for open seats in the Senate and in the entire House of Representatives every two years. The powers for the two chambers of Congress are listed in Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution, which follow these general guidelines: “The Congress shall have Power to lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defense and general Welfare of the United States.” In this election, the outcome could determine whether the federal government will accomplish a lot or turn into a gridlock.
Senators have six year terms with elections held every two years for a third of the senate. In this year’s race, there are 35 vacant seats, 26 of which are held by Democrats. Currently, the Republican Party holds a very slim majority with 51 seats. While only two seats need to flip for a majority, “the path to get to that number is difficult,” says CNN. Democrats would need to maintain all their 26 seats, plus gain two of the nine Republican seats. The majority party will have a lot of influence going forward. Right now, the big item to handle is the confirmation for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, a fairly conservative judge. Only 51 votes are needed to pass the confirmation, so Republicans will be looking to gain more seats to better Kavanaugh’s chance. If Democrats take the majority, there could be a potential hold up in the nomination, just like when Republicans locked up President Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland in 2016. There are at least five seats which are toss-ups, so whichever party wins more of those seats, the more likely they will decide whether Kavanaugh will take a seat on the Supreme Court or not.
Representatives in the U.S. House serve two year terms, with elections every two years for all 435 seats. To control the House, 218 seats are required. Currently the Republican Party holds the majority with 236 seats. Democrats need 19 seats to take majority, and many people believe they will achieve this. According to the New York Times, there are 48 competitive seats, 41 of which are held by Republicans. While the Times, along with many, believe that power will shift in the House, the magazine says that “Congressional races are inherently local elections, and the individual candidates on the ballot will matter in November.” While the House of Representatives has less power than the senate, they pass all bills for raising revenue, and the opportunity to impeach the President. Some Democrats have been calling for President Trump to be impeached, and it could happen if they get the simple majority needed for this action. However, the President would need to do something unconstitutional to be impeached. And an impeachment does not mean a removal from office. After the House passes articles of impeachment, the Senate tries the accused. And with the Senate likely to remain Republican after the midterms, it would be hard to get 2/3 of them to convict President Trump. The Washington Post even says a failure to convict could strengthen President Trump’s numbers, just like it did with President Bill Clinton. Nonetheless, it is a possibility the Democrats could use if they gain the majority.
The right to vote is very special and powerful. An election doesn’t just determine who sits in D.C. for a few years. It sets the path that our country will take, whether good or bad. We cannot see into the future and tell which candidate is the better vote, but we should strive to support those who follow after God. They know God is the Eternal King and they are not. Solomon showed this in 1 Kings 3:9: “So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of yours?” While we might not be politicians, we can still pray for God to give guidance to those running and in office, so that they will do things for this country that honor Him.