Robert F. Jakubowicz: Trump finally faces accountability
PITTSFIELD — The national media raised the hopes of anti-Trump and anti-Republican Americans by hyping an election scenario of a potential blue wave of Democrats flipping congressional seats held by Republicans and filling those being vacated by GOP incumbents. But these hopes began to fade when the early election results showed this would not be the case.
Many Americans became disappointed, including veteran political operatives like James Carville. He said in a television interview that: "It's not going to be a wave election. It could still be a good election."
And that it was. Because the election of a majority of Democrats to the House of Representatives restores a partial, but significant check and balance by it on the other branch of government.
Since the election of Trump, the Republicans have controlled the White House and Congress, leaving the Democrats legislatively powerless. But now with their majority in control of one of the congressional branches, they can begin to fulfill their fundamental constitutional duty. They can act as a check and balance on the
Senate and the president as well as holding them accountable.
No federal law can pass without their action. They can investigate potential conflict of interests by the president by investigating his financial dealings with foreign governments. Congress has the authority to obtain tax returns, including those of Trump, directly from the Internal Revenue Service. It can hold hearings to supplement the investigation by Robert Mueller.
The Republican House majority has blocked just about every effort by the Democratic minority to investigate a long list of matters. A partial list would include such things as: the need to send 15,000 troops to the border, the separation of children from the families of immigrants, the murder of Jamel Khasoggi, the security of American elections from foreign interference, various questionable activities by members of Trump's cabinet and members of his administration, the firing of former FBI Director James Comey, former Attorney General Jeff Sessions' untruthful past testimony before Congress, the operation of Trump's Foundation, and the like.
Trump has had his way as president until now. But this will end after the transition of this congressional power and he will be held accountable, as every other president has been, by a constitutionally created equal branch of government.
STEP TWO ABORTED
This congressional change is also important for federal policy issues relating to the function of government. The Trump administration, with the support of the now past GOP congressional majority, was apparently ready to take step number two to reduce the size of government and lower the national deficit. They had taken step one with their major tax cut which is significantly adding to that deficit. They were,planning in the new congressional session to take steps to reduce this deficit by,cutting spending because they now can claim that not enough tax revenue is coming in for government expenses.
This is the old political GOP mantra of "starving,the beast." That is, reducing tax revenues to the point that the government has to cut social safety nets, alter Social Security and Medicare programs, as well as getting,the government out of such matters as health care and leaving it to the private market. But now this congressional majority by Democrats will be in a legislative position to stop the GOP push to basically leave Americans to face financial problems on their own and their health matters by dealing with a private for profit.
These were issues on which Democratic congressional candidates ran on, rather than attacking Trump. It should also be borne in mind, that the House of Representatives is the place where impeachment of a president begins. This means that if for example Mueller produces evidence warranting such action or an investigation by the House finds such evidence, then the House can institute such action. Then the matter has to be taken up by the Senate for a finding of guilty or not. This is a position the Democrats have not been in since the election of Trump.
Up to this point, many Americans have been wondering when, if ever, this country would arrive at a point to finally begin to hold Trump accountable, as other presidents have been by Congress. Americans have finally arrived at this point, in my opinion, with the results of Tuesday's election.
This should not be seen as a disappointing election for Trump opponents. He should be placed in a position of accounting for his presidential actions by Congress. My advice to the president is to clean up his presidential act, if he can, because he now will find himself in a governing position he has not been since his election.
Robert "Frank" Jakubowicz is a regular Eagle contributor.
TALK TO US
If you'd like to leave a comment (or a tip or a question) about this story with the editors, please email us. We also welcome letters to the editor for publication; you can do that by filling out our letters form and submitting it to the newsroom.