In the United States, 2020 may be the next election year, but that only makes the notable political moments of 2019 all the more important. Each of these moments made an impact across everything from travel, to food, to jobs, and health. What happens in 2019 can have a huge effect on the next election and on Americans' lives in the years to come. Today's important political moments can become tomorrow's historic events. Some American political decisions and policies may also affect the world beyond the US, but primarily they directly affected daily life for Americans.
For better or worse, these moments affected how people in the US lived their lives in 2019. Vote up the moments in US politics that made the biggest impact on life in 2019.
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Georgia and Alabama became the latest states to introduce and pass fetal heartbeat bills. These highly controversial laws ban abortions as soon as there is a detectable "fetal heartbeat in the womb." This can be as early as six weeks, at which point many women are not even aware that they are pregnant.
Georgia Governor Brian Kemp signed the bill on May 7. Alabama followed suit on May 14 with an even stricter law that banned abortion at any state of pregnancy. The law does not make exceptions if the pregnancy was caused by rape or incest. Several other states, like Kentucky, Ohio, and Mississippi, passed similar bills earlier in the year. The wave of bills were designed to be tried on a federal level, which pro-life activists are hoping will lead to a reversal of Roe v. Wade. Activists dressed like women from The Handmaid's Tale protested.
"The bill is very simple. It's not about birth control or the morning after pill. It's about not allowing abortion once the woman is pregnant. The entire bill was designed to overturn [Roe v. Wade] and allow states to decide what is best for them," said Alabama Representative Terri Collins.
Fulfilling the hopes and promises of the previous year, on January 03, 2019, a historically diverse group of people were sworn into the House - including a record-breaking number of women. With 107 women in the 116h Congress, there are now over four times as many female members of the House as when Speaker Nancy Pelosi first joined in 1987. With a freshman class of House Democrats that include such historic firsts as the youngest member, the first Indigenous women in Congress, the first Muslim women in Congress, the face of the House has significantly changed.
After two years, Spencial counsel Robert Mueller completed his investigation on President Trump and any possible collusion with Russia. According to the Appointment of Special Counsel from the Office of the Deputy Attorney General, Mueller was hired to look into "any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump; and any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation." Mueller did not find that President Trump or his campaign colluded with Russia. However, Attorney General William Barr was quick to add that it "does not exonerate [Trump]" on obstruction.
Critics of President Trump were hoping that Mueller would find concrete evidence condemning the president and his close circle. President Trump repeatedly called the investigation a "witch hunt" and alluded to the idea of a "Deep State" that was out to illegally get him. The investigation itself was full of political drama, especially when BuzzFeed published an unredacted (and unverified) dossier from a former British Intelligence official alleging President Trump's willful participation in the Russian bot infiltration.
President Trump waited until Monday, March 25 to tweet about the affair. He rapidly fired out tweets quoting the findings, saying "No Collusion, No Obstuction, Complete and Total EXONERATION. KEEP AMERICA GREAT!"
The United States Supreme Court made a five to four majority decision on whether or not the US Department of Commerce could reinstate a citizenship census question on the 2020 electoral ballot. The Trump administration, among others who supported the implementation of this question, argued the question is needed to enforce the Voting Rights Act and without it the census would be useless, but critics claim the specific questionnaire is politically motivated and could be used to intimidate non-citizens, cause less people to respond to the census, and ultimately misrepresent minority populations.
Chief Justice John Roberts and the court’s four liberal judges voted against the census question claiming the Department of Commerce did not properly justify their reasoning for this addition to census. “In order to permit meaningful judicial review, an agency must ‘disclose the basis’ of its action,” Chief Justice Roberts wrote in the majority opinion. “Several points, taken together, reveal a significant mismatch between the Secretary’s decision and the rationale he provided… Altogether, the evidence tells a story that does not match the Secretary’s explanation for his decision.”
Following the decision, Trump responded through a tweet saying he would attempt to delay the census.
Seems totally ridiculous that our government, and indeed Country, cannot ask a basic question of Citizenship in a very expensive, detailed and important Census, in this case for 2020. I have asked the lawyers if they can delay the Census, no matter how long, until the.....— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 27, 2019
The court’s decision, though a setback for a Trump administration, does not fully prohibit the reinstating of the citizenship question. The decision sends the issue back to the lower courts and leaves open the possibility for the administration to provide the necessary justifications for the questionnaire.