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The First Somali and Palestinian Muslim Women in America to Be Elected Into Congress: What Does This Mean for the Midterms?

by in World on 7th November, 2018

Have you heard? Two Muslim women have been elected into congress, Rashida Tlaib the first Palestinian American woman from Michigan and representative Ilhan Omar the first Somali American of Minnesota to serve in Congress. This is a momentous jump in Trump’s America and a spec of hope in the larger backdrop of the malicious climate of America towards migrants, Muslims, and ethnic minorities under Trump’s rule.

A pair of districts in the Midwest has decided on part of America’s future. According to CNN, Palestinian Rashida Tlaib is, “endorsed by the Democratic Socialists of America, a burgeoning left-wing group that also counts New York Democratic congressional nominee Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez among its members.”

Omar, once a refugee going to the states over 2 decades ago, “Tlaib campaigned with Omar ahead of the latter’s primary race earlier this year.” Omar will take the seat left by Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison, first Muslim elected to Congress. Omar was backed by Ocasio-Cortez in her primary race, and her presence already throws American politics into controversy, since she outwardly critiques the Israeli state, a key ally to the U.S.
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Tlaib will fill the seat formerly occupied by Michigan Democratic Rep. John Conyers, who left office last year amid accusations of sexual misconduct. She ran unopposed on the general election ballot following her primary win. Tlaib is the daughter of Palestinian immigrants and became the first Muslim female member of Michigan’s state legislature a decade ago. A self-styled progressive, Tlaib is a vocal critic of President Donald Trump and was arrested two years ago for disrupting a Trump speech in Detroit.

What is the Congress?

By definition, the word congress means, “a formal meeting or series of meetings for discussion between delegates, especially those from a political party, trade union, or from within a particular sphere of activity.” The United States Congress is the bicameral legislature of the Federal government of the United States. The legislature consists of two chambers: the House of Representatives and the Senate. These become the official lawmaking body of the nation. The main power of Congress, as outlined in the U.S. Constitution, “is to make laws that, when signed by the president,  it becomes the law of the land, governing all of American life.”

What does the Senate do?

The US Senate is an upper chamber of the United States Congress, what the Senate does is basically build legislation for the United States alongside The House of Representatives which is a lower chamber. The composition and powers of the Senate are established by Article One of the United States Constitution. Article One of the United Constitution, establishes the legislative branch of the federal government, the United States Congress.  Have a read of some of the bills and qualifications published…

Who is in control of Congress?

So the elections in 2014, gave the Republicans control of the Senate. and the houses of Congress. What does this mean? It means for the first time since the 109th Congress,  the Republicans took the lead with 248 seats in the House of Representatives and 54 seats in the Senate, this Congress began with the largest Republican majority since the 71st Congress of 1929–1931.

Who is this right now?

  • House Speaker – Paul Ryan
  • Members – 100 senators 435 representatives 6 non-voting delegates
  • Senate Majority – Republican
  • House Majority – Republican

Ok but what about a Congressman and a Senator?

Some individual cases may relay that a Representative, is more critical than a Senator, but generally speaking Senators hold the impression that they hold more power. Both are needed for legislation.

 What’s the difference between a Republican and a Democrat?

The Republican Party a.k.a the GOP is one of two major political parties in the US. Republicanism was coined as a significant ideology of the American Revolution. The party is known for being defined as conservatives since the 1890’s, although there was a strong Eastern liberal wing. Since 1964, the conservatives largely took control. The Republican party is said to “believe in a smaller federal government, which places fewer regulations on the people. They also believe in the state’s rights to make their own laws, based on the beliefs of their citizens.”
U.S President Donald Trump (NY)
U.S Vice President: Mike Pence (IN)
Speaker of the House: Paul Ryan (WI)
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (CA)
Leadership: Ronna Mcdaniel (party chair)
Founder: Hannibal Hamlin
Founded: 20th March 1854, Ripon, Wisconsin, US
Headquarters: Washington DC
Preceded by: National Republican Party, Whig Party, Free Soil Party
What about the Democratic Party?
The Democratic Party is one of the two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Republican Party.
LeadershipTom Perez (Party chair)
Founded8 January 1828
The Democrats’ present their worldview as once being social conservatism and economic liberalism while populism was its leading characteristic in the rural South. Since Roosevelt, the 32nd president of the US, and his new deal coalition in the 1930’s triggered a social liberal platform supporting social justice. Typically the party is largely made up of centrists, and progressives. A small minority are in fact, conservative Democrats. The philosophy of the party is based on ‘modern liberalism which advocates economic and social equality, and the welfare state. It seeks to regulate the economy, by introducing social programs, support for labour unions, and making the university more affordable, better universal healthcare (remember Obamacare)?  Seeking to provide equal opportunities, consumer protection, environment protection, which became the core of the party’s economic policy.

So what does this exactly mean?

It means Muslim women for the first time in history will have a seat at the table in the room where the most exec decisions about the future of America are made.

What do they mean by midterms?

On the 6th November voters in America get a chance to have their say, their vote, this will be the first time they vote since trumps 2016 elections. Seats in the House and Senate are there to be won back, which may mean the Democrats have a fighting chance to take back their control. If the Democrats have a Senate majority this could help end Trumps Agenda blocking him having a say in the Supreme court. Republicans had previously had a small majority, however more seats were won today for the Democrats. the process of winning seats is a lot harder than it seems. If this occurs a trump Russia investigation will prevail.

Voter suppression occurs to block votes and create an atmosphere of fear.

The Democrats must retain majority seats to win the House overall. 36 states will be voting in a new governor as well. Governers have sway to influence laws such as health policy and the gun laws which became a point of contention earlier this year after the school shootings.

Governers to look out for?

  • Jacky Rosen Democrat -Nevada
  • Lauren Underwood- Democrat Illinois
  • Andrew Gillum-  Democrat Florida
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