Local News Writer
The outcome of the congressional election will have a serious effect on the progress of Clinton or Trump’s presidential agenda. (Photo by Huffington Post)
Whether you turn your TV on, check the latest trending politics tab on twitter, or get News notifications on your iPhone, you will see the presidential election being covered extensively. Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have been the media’s main focus since the primary season ended in late July, when both national conventions announced their party's nominee. However, what hasn’t been covered as much are the congressional races, so are they worth worrying about? Yes: maybe more so than the presidential election. Here’s why.
Although the presidential election occurs quadrennially, the congressional elections don’t. Every two years the House of Representatives is up for reelection. Having a total number of 435 members, the House of Representatives is based on the population of a state. This means the higher the state’s population, the more representatives it will have. On the contrary, Senators serve a much longer term of 6 years. The Senate is comprised of 100 members instead of 435, and each state has equal representation with two senators.
The reason why we have two chambers of congress leads back to the Great Compromise. At the constitutional convention, our founding fathers had multiple disputes regarding the division of congress. The Great Compromise, sometimes called the Connecticut Compromise, created a system where states with larger populations would have representation in the House, while smaller states had equal representation in the Senate.
So what are the current standings in both houses?
As of the last midterm election, November 10th, 2014, the Republicans claimed the majority in each chamber of congress. Being the middle of Obama’s second term, this inhibited his agenda as the Republicans did not agree with many of the bills he and his party wished to pass.
This upcoming congressional election could have three possible turnouts. The first is a continuation of the current standings. This means both houses would stay Republican, which would be a great advantage to a Republican presidency.
The second possible outcome is the opposite, where the Democrats could win both chambers and ultimately have control of congress.
As of now the Republicans hold 247 seats in the House, with the Democrats in the minority with 188 seats. If the Democrats were to regain control in the House they would need to win 30 more seats, which is a large task to accomplish. The problem lies with incumbents, congressmen or women who currently hold office and have a 90% chance winning their districts in November. This 90% comes from the advantages of incumbency such as name recognition, campaign finances, and pure experience.
The third outcome leads to a Democratic majority in the Senate and a Republican majority in the House. Having a split congress has it’s own benefits and consequences because of the different responsibilities within each house. If the Democrats take a senatorial majority, this will benefit Hillary Clinton.
The Senate is able to vote on Supreme Court Justices, Ambassadors to the US, Cabinet Officers as well as treaties the President signs with other countries. Finally, the Senate is able to remove a President from office by holding a trial, while the House can only impeach by bringing forth charges.
It’s important to realize that congress can either be an aid to the president or their worst nightmare. Although it’s important to vote for president, your congressional vote is equally important and shouldn’t be taken lightly. You decide who represents you and what political platform is carried out, so make sure to stop at the polls on November 8th!
Below are the current CT Senators and Representatives, those seeking reelection, and their respective challengers.