Still thinking about the mid-term election results… The Republicans have the Executive Branch and the Senate. The Democrats won the House of Representatives. We will have a divided government when the 116th Congress convenes on January 3, 2019. As I awoke in the very early hours this morning, I found myself thinking about the election results like many of you probably were on the day after. What is a common sense civics and citizenship approach to this new Congress? Instead of bemoaning election results, let’s think about what an American divided government might look like.
First, when there is a divided government, there is almost always less spending. That’s good for We the People. More gridlock? Yes, but less spending. Gridlock can be helpful in that it forces Congress to be more contemplative about the legislation they pass and the money it will cost taxpayers.
Second, liberty is preserved. This is a side benefit of a divided government. For example, it’s harder to go to war when there are opposing parties running the People’s business. It’s very hard to pass extreme legislation. Just think. When Congress isn’t passing more laws, We the People have more freedom!
Then there’s Checks and Balances which means that power will not be in the hands of a few. Power must be shared under the system of Checks and Balances that our Framers of the U.S. Constitution set up for the governance of our nation. Of course, when one party has both Houses of Congress and the Presidency, checks and balances aren’t “out the window.” In a divided government, we are more likely to see power shared, for the chairmanships of committees in the House will be Democrat while the chairmanships in the Senate will be Republican.
There may be the promised impeachment proceedings, but those proceedings by law originate in the House. If a trial occurs, it would take place in the Senate. The Checks and Balances will be at work in our divided government.
There may be subpoenas but politics is strategic. We all will learn a lot about strategy and facts in the event that subpoenas are issued.
A divided government will be interesting but We the People stand to retain freedom as long as we remain vigilant.