Americans elected Democrats to lead the House as a message to Trump: You are not above the law

OUR Founding Fathers had the foresight to protect the democracy of the new union they just built when they were drafting the Constitution of the United States. They knew then that with the power vested upon elected and appointed officials, there could be some who would try to abuse this power for their personal gain and aggrandizement, and so they instituted the system of checks and balances.

The U.S. Constitution mandated that there be three co-equal branches of government: the Executive, the Legislative, and the Judiciary. Each branch checks on the others to make sure no institution or individual abuses such power, and has provisions of law to serve as guide for centuries to protect our democratic institutions and processes.

The election of Donald J. Trump as the 45th President of the United States, however, has challenged the checks and balances requirement of the Constitution. Trump’s popularity with the Republican base has casted a spell on the party of Lincoln and Reagan that has caused so many members of the Legislative branch of government to abandon their faithfulness to conservative values of adherence to the Constitution, the rule of law, and accountability for political expediency.

Many of the leaders of the Republican Party, who were up in arms in criticizing Trump’s character, temperament, and qualification during the primary election up until he was sworn in, have morphed from rabid wolves to meek lambs who have given Trump a pass in everything he has said and done that have gone against true Republican and conservative principles in his performance of his job as president and Commander-in-Chief. They failed to call out the president for his rhetoric, decisions and actions — for fear of losing support of the Republican base.

The confirmation of Trump’s nominee Brett Kavanaugh as Justice of the Supreme Court, despite all allegations against him, tilted the balance of power in favor of the party of Trump, causing concerns among many Americans that Trump could indeed continue to assault our democracy with the failure of the Legislative and Judiciary branches of government to fulfill their obligations of checks and balances to the Executive.

Trump said during his closing arguments campaigning for Republicans running for office in the midterm elections that “a vote for a Republican is a vote for Trump”.

Indeed, the results of the midterm elections had been a referendum on Trump, revealing that a majority of Americans reject the culture of impunity deepening in Trump’s tenure, and voted out the Republicans who have been enabling and condoning the president’s abuse of power.

Democrats were able to regain the majority in the House of Representatives, which means the oversight function of Congress will now be functional again. The House will cease to serve the interest of the President and the GOP,  and will now do its job to make the president accountable.

Moreover, the midterm elections also reveal the diminishing margin of the victory of the Republicans in the Senate, and in races in the House that the GOP won, even in districts and states that Trump won by double digits in 2016, and where he campaigned so hard for in the midterm elections.

We have so much to look forward to, and to be following vigilantly, in order for us to do our part in protecting our democracy — government of the people, by the people, for the people.

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Gel Santos Relos is the anchor of TFC’s “Balitang America.” Views and opinions expressed by the author in this column are solely those of the author and not of Asian Journal and ABS-CBN-TFC. For comments, go to,

Gel Santos Relos

Gel Santos Relos is the anchor of TFC’s “Balitang America.” Views and opinions expressed by the author in this column are solely those of the author and not of Asian Journal and ABS-CBN-TFC. For comments, go to and

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