Confused about what the midterm election is? You’re not alone. After several weeks of watching the View, I finally gave in and did some of my own research. Here’s a simple breakdown of what the Midterm Election is and why it’s important:
- The midterm elections take place every four years, two years into the President’s four year term.
- The President himself is not being voted on but rather members of the US Congress which consists of the House of Representatives and the Senate. These two houses make up the Legislative branch of the US political system, meaning they are where laws and bills are voted on.
- With 435 members, the House provides proportional representation with respect to each state’s population and its members serve two year terms.
- The Senate, on the other hand, provides equal representation with 100 members (two from every state) and its members serve six year terms.
- All 435 seats in the House of Representatives, 35 seats in the Senate and 36 governorships are up for grabs in this midterm election.
- Congress is currently controlled by Republicans which means this election has the power change the political landscape and how effectively Trump can make good on his promises. It could also mean the potential for impeachment…
Other important information:
- The other two branches of the US government are the Executive Branch i.e. the White House and the Judicial Branch i.e the Supreme Court.
- The major power of the House is to pass federal legislation. Before becoming law, its bills must also be passed by the Senate and further approved by the President.
- The House has several exclusive powers: the power to initiate revenue bills, to impeach officials, and to elect the President in case there is no majority in the Electoral College.
- The Senate also has several exclusive powers. It has the power to review treaties before they’re ratified and consent to or confirm the appointment of Cabinet secretaries, federal judges (such as in the case of Brett Kavanaugh), other federal executive officials, military officers, regulatory officials, ambassadors, and other federal uniformed officers. The Senate is also responsible for trying federal officials impeached by the House.
A little lesson in our Canadian politics:
- The Canadian Government is also split into two legislative branches:
- The House of Commons with 38 elected politicians (known as MPs) and,
- The Senate with 105 senators appointed by the Prime Minister
- Bills or laws are usually drafted by the Prime Minister’s office then voted on in the House of Commons and passed to the Senate for final approval.