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16.11.2018 13:37 Global Slovakia
What U.S. midterm elections mean for Slovakia
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16.11.2018 13:37 Global Slovakia

What U.S. midterm elections mean for Slovakia



BRATISLAVA-American voters last week chose a new Congress to check U.S. President Trump’s powers during the second-half of his four-year term. Democrats won control from Republicans over Congress’s lower chamber (the House of Representatives), where they can now exercise some blocking power against Trump’s worst tantrums. Already aggressive on trade, security, climate, and other important international issues, what will America’s midterm elections mean for Slovakia?


Answer: a nicer America is not necessarily imminent but its policies impacting other countries could become more mitigated by the priorities and perspectives of new people permeating the policymaking process. More than 100 million ballots were cast in 2018, a twenty percent increase from 83 million in the 2014 midterms.  While this was the highest percentage of voter participation in midterms since 1914, it was still only 49% of eligible voters.

 

Americans elected record numbers of women and people of color to Congress.  Women now hold an historic high of 100 seats (out of a total 435) in the House, including its first two Native American women, its first two Muslim women, and its youngest woman—29 years old—ever elected.  Texas elected its first Latina woman and Massachusetts its first African American woman.  

 

 

Meanwhile, Trump’s Republican Party strengthened its hold in the Senate by gaining six seats. Senators approve international treaties and often have more influence over foreign affairs.  That means Trump’s transatlantic ties to European leaders like Merkel and Macron, whom he has criticized repeatedly if not ridiculed, might be further frayed if cooler heads don’t prevail. 

 

In the House, Democrats plan to launch 35 investigations into Trump’s tax returns, collusion with Russia, corruption in the Environmental Protection Agency, and possible impeachment.  Oversight is one responsibility of Congress and Trump’s opponents will now use it to tie up his agenda. 

 

Top international issues that could be impacted include:

 

Trade: Trump delayed his decision on putting tariffs on auto imports, Europe and Slovakia’s main economic motor. EU Trade Commissioner Cecelia Malmstrom told reporters that Europe would impose tariffs on an equal amount of US goods if Trump carried through with his threat.  Trump’s November 20 meeting with Chinese leader Xi Jin Ping in Buenos Aires may strike a trade deal that, apparently, Europe will be expected to somehow accept, even though its not invited to the table.

 

Climate Change: Trump’s promise to pull out of the new United Nation’s climate protection treaty has not stopped his diplomatic team from trying to further weaken it.  When national negotiators reconvene next month in Poland to write a rulebook for the Paris Agreement, Trump’s opponents in Congress will be exposing corruption and conflicts-of-interest with his team and fossil fuels executives.  While this may weaken Trump’s negotiators, it may strengthen the world’s only legal instrument to reduce dangerous emissions cooking our planet.

 

Security: Despite increased cooperation to counter terrorism, relations with Russia could become more complicated by a Congress aiming to clarify Russia’s role in recent elections; this may happen in the House and could spill over to the Senate, pressuring Trump in many ways. In Helsinki, Putin asked Trump for cooperation on oil price stability but, like the rest of the world, he receives only threatening tweets to keep prices low.  More of such statements might restrain Russian oil revenues, and state power, yet a divided U.S. Congress could temper Trump’s tirades encouraging European disintegration.



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Zdroj: V.M.Netky.sk

Foto:  PIXABAY/ALjAZEERA



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