The Democratic Party has wrested control of the House of Representatives in the mid-term elections. This is a big blow to President Donald Trump despite the fact that the Republicans managed to retain majority control of the Senate.
This new dispensation will change the balance of power on Capitol Hill and will make it much more difficult for President Trump to have his way on important policy issues.
The test of any democracy resides to a significant extent on the strength of its national institutions. There are some useful lessons that developing democracies such as ours can learn from the US experience including a system of checks and balances at the legislative and executive levels as well as presidential term limits which we have now institutionalized in our laws.
Democracy means nothing if there are no mechanisms for checks and balances in the exercise of power. This is why it is so important to have strong institutions at the legislative and judicial levels. The will of the majority must at all times be the basis for rule which must be underpinned by a strong and independent judiciary.
It is interesting to see how the new configuration in the House of Representatives will impact on policymaking. One thing is certain: it will not be business as usual for the Trump presidency with respect to his legislative agenda especially on the issue of immigration and foreign policy.