November 8, 2018
Tuesday’s elections saw Democrats successfully take control of the House of Representatives, while the Republicans will continue to hold power in the Senate. The results may have disappointed some hopes for an all-encompassing blue wave in response to President Trump’s agenda, but the Democratic House victory poses significant consequences for Congress and the presidential administration nonetheless.
In the Senate, Democrats lost three seats in Indiana, North Dakota, and Missouri, further strengthening the GOP majority. Tight races won by Republicans include Arizona, where Air Force veteran Martha McSally prevailed, and Texas, where Ted Cruz retained his seat despite the threat posed by Democrat challenger Beto O’Rourke.
Democrat candidates won 222 seats in the House, surpassing the 218 seats required for a majority. They received particular success in flipping suburban districts, including key seats in Florida, Virginia, and Oklahoma. The Democratic side of Congress also contains more diversity of ethnicity and gender, with over a hundred female candidates riding what has been termed a “pink wave” into these midterms and the first ever Muslim and Native American congresswomen elected.
Sam Bregman, a senior at SCHS, is more than pleased with last night’s results. “I’m very happy with the election results!” Bregman said. “The blue wave might have fell a little short, especially in the Senate, but there are a lot of other results that I’m happy with. I’m especially happy to see more women and people of color in Congress!”
With Democrats regaining control of the House for the first time in eight years, there is bound to be a notable influence all throughout the country. Nancy Pelosi made a speech Tuesday evening, stating that now is the time to recover checks on the president. Pelosi may be returned the Speaker of the House position that she last held in 2010, and she promised stricter gun control, less corruption and money within politics, and differences within immigration policy. Other than this, the power gained in the House means that Democrats can look into President Trump’s tax returns, investigate him and his Cabinet members, and hinder GOP policy on taxes and health care, the former being the big-ticket item on the Democrat agenda. It has been predicted that Democrats will first try to stabilize the Affordable Care Act, and then strive to solve the growing problem of high drug prices. Thanks to the outcome of these midterms, Democrats should be able to finally get to work on their objectives.
Many have asked if Democrats will go so far as to make efforts to impeach the president; at this point, it can’t be said for sure whether the processes of impeachment are on the horizon. Democrats avoided discussing this possibility during the campaign period, since it would likely only stir up support for their opposition. However, President Trump has already reacted irrationally to the last night’s loss by firing Attorney General Jefferson Sessions. Unfortunately, this was a long time coming and it poses a harsh threat to the sanctity of the Robert Mueller investigation into Russian collusion in the 2016 election. Despite Democrats being able to actively fight for this investigation now, it is already shaping up to be an topic of conflict within the divided government. “I think the divided government will help keep each branch in check,” senior Malia Yim said. “It’ll reinforce the system of compromise our government was created to be.”
The next two years are sure to be fraught with gridlock in this conflicted Congress, a reflection of the state of political affairs in general within the increasingly polarized American people. Only time can tell how effective the Democrats, and the body of Congress in general, will be in the coming years.