Senior Professionals Announcement 10/16

The Council of Senior Professionals seminar for Tuesday, October 16 (2-4 p.m. in SCC 103), features Richard Unruh on "Election 2018 - Reaffirmation or Rejection?"  Faculty and staff are invited to attend as guests of the Council.


When the Constitution of the United States was written in the summer of 1787, the delegates in Philadelphia were responding to a perceived need for a stronger national government, but they continued to fear too powerful an executive.  In addition to giving the new President a four-year term of office, they inserted a national election for Congress in the middle of that term as a way of potentially limiting the power of that office even further.  In other words, the people could reevaluate their decision of two years earlier, change the political makeup of Congress, and thereby potentially alter a president's performance or direction of policy-making.  They could also change it in a way that might reaffirm their decision of two years ago.


In every midterm election since the Civil War, the president's party has lost an average of 32 seats in the House of Representatives and two in the Senate.  In only two such elections has the president's party gained seats in both houses--Franklin Roosevelt in 1934 after his landslide win in 1932, and George W. Bush in 2002 after 9/11. The losses customarily reduce support for the President in Congress, and can result in the president's party losing its majority in the House or Senate, or both. The latter happens most often in the midterm election in a president's first term in office. Recent presidents who have experienced this form of rejection were Truman, Eisenhower, Clinton, and Obama.


Election 2018 will be such an election for Donald Trump. Will the electorate reaffirm its decision made in 2016 (i.e., this is the kind of president we want and need) by keeping the Republicans in the majority in the House and Senate?  Or will it try to reject his presidency (i.e., this is not the kind of president we want and need) by giving the Democrats the majority in one or both houses and thereby endeavor to change it over the next two years? Tune in on the night of November 6.