Here are the main events in Politics that occurred over the past week:
1. Democrats Sweep Virginia and New Jersey Gubernatorial Elections
Voters in Virginia and New Jersey gave Democratic gubernatorial candidates large victories on November 8 and sent a clear message of rebuke to President Donald Trump and the Republican Party. In Virginia, Democratic candidate Ralph Northam defeated Republican Ed Gillespie by almost 9% and narrowed Republican control over the House of Delegates. In New Jersey, Democrat Phil Murphy easily defeated Republican Kim Guadagno by a 13% margin to succeed the very unpopular Republican Governor Chris Christie. Additionally, the Democratic Party made huge gains in both the New Jersey State Senate and House of Representatives, earning their largest majorities in both bodies since the 1970s.
The results of these elections show that the American people are beginning to get fed up with the policies of the Trump Administration and the Republican Party. Perhaps these elections are the first signs of an upcoming wave for the Democratic Party in the 2018 midterm elections. These results also underscore the fact that the Republican Party needs to reform its policies in order to become more viable in both state and federal-level elections. It can be argued that if the Republican leadership does not heed these warnings, their status as one of the two major US political parties may, in fact, be numbered.
2. Tensions Between Saudi Arabia and Iran Grow
The lingering tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran took a dangerous turn this week. On November 6, the Saudi government charged that a missile fired at its territory from Yemen was an “act of war” by Iran, in the sharpest escalation in nearly three decades of mounting hostility between the two regional rivals. Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Jubair further stated that “Iran cannot lob missiles at Saudi cities and towns and expect us not to take steps.” The accusations came a day after a wave of arrests that seemed to consolidate the power of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is known for his anti-Iran foreign policy positions, support for Israel and Zionism, and advocacy of Wahhabi Islam.
Countries such as the US, Israel, and the UK came out in full support of the Saudi response, arguing that Saudi Arabia has the right to defend itself from any and all threats. On the other hand, several of Iran’s closest allies such as Russia and China urged the Saudi government to ratchet down its rhetoric and to solve its disputes with Iran through diplomatic means. This incident also underscores the major risks that an Iran-Saudi Arabia War would have on regional stability, the global economy, and the international community. In the event that a war would break out between both countries, it is likely that Iran would emerge as the clear victor due to their much larger and more technologically advanced military, more diverse economy, more stable political system, and widespread support from countries such as Russia and China.
3. Republican Senate Candidate Roy Moore Faces Growing Allegations of Sexual Misconduct With Underage Women
The controversial Senate candidate Roy Moore (R-AL) faced another stumbling block this week with the revelation of sexual misconduct with at least three women under the age of 18 when he was in his early 30s. One of the women was only 14 years old at the time, two years younger than the age of consent in Alabama. While most of these incidents occurred in the late 1970s, one incident occurred as recently as 1991. At the time of the incidents in the 1970s, Moore was an assistant district attorney and active in local Alabama politics. In response to these allegations, many Republicans such as John McCain and Mitt Romney called for Moore to drop out of the race and numerous Republican Senators such as Ted Cruz, Mitch McConnell, and Cory Gardner withdrew their support. House Speaker Paul Ryan also called for Moore to abandon his campaign. On the other hand, Alabama Republicans have largely defended Moore and still view him as the lesser evil in the race.
Despite the serious nature of the allegations, Roy Moore has remained defiant and instead doubled down on his far-right message. Moore has declared the allegations as a plot by the Democratic Party to bring down his candidacy and accused those who oppose him as anti-Christian. The long-term effects of the Roy Moore scandal may result in Democratic candidate Doug Jones ultimately winning the seat. A potential victory by Jones would give Alabama is first Democratic Senator in over 20 years and further cut into the Republican Senate majority to the point in which the Democratic Party would have a strong chance of regaining control of that body in the 2018 Midterm elections.