Blue wave gains strength but unable to wash away Trump
by Nathan Lampshire ‘19
In the midterm elections on November 6, Democrats won the House with 235 seats over the Republican’s 200 seats, Republicans maintained control of the Senate with 53 seats over the Democrat’s 47 seats. The results of the elections were greatly influenced by the increasing support for Democrats by white educated women and a lack of support for the Republicans from the middle-class white voters, the same voters who showed up in great numbers to elect President Trump into office. Trump, however, did receive continued support from rural voters. The West is also in the process of turning purple (democrats gaining support), with future elections likely to see more competition between the two parties as a result of the increasing Democratic support, especially in Utah, Texas, Nevada, Colorado, and even Arizona.
After picking up 40 House seats, the Democrats have now established a wall in Congress. Since President Trump’s election, the Republicans have had no check on their legislation authority because they controlled both the House and Senate. They attempted to push their legislative agendas, knowing that they may lose seats in this past midterm election. Democratic Minority Leader of the House (and likely to be Majority leader come January), Nancy Pelosi, said that the Democrats want “bipartisan and common ground,” but they now have the votes to deny Republicans of any legislature brought to the House and will fight to balance the power between the two parties.
A new mix of lawmakers have taken to the floor in Congress. In the elections, both women and LGBTQ+ legislators made their way to the House, Senate, and Governor’s office in great numbers. The trend of elderly white males in Congress is slowly coming to an end for republicans. The increased diversity will represent a better range of citizens and guide legislation to affect more people. Issues regarding health care, federal spending, warrantless surveillance, immigration reform, and infrastructure spending will be cast in a new light as the demographics of Congress shift. Not only that, but some of the candidates who will be traveling to the capitol will bring a greater religious diversity, and ideally, a greater diversity of perspectives regarding legislation, to ensure that all people are accounted for.
The most noticeable elections were the races in Georgia, Florida, and Texas. In Georgia, a fierce competition between Republican Brian Kemp and Democrat Stacey Abrams captivated the nation as Abrams campaigned to become Georgia’s first African American governor and first African American governor in the nation. The election was considered biased by critics and an order was placed by District Judge Amy Totenberg to recount provisional and rejected absentee ballots. Brian Kemp won by 2 percent. In Florida, a close race occurred between Republican Ron DeSantis and Democrat Andrew Gillum. The swing state plays an important role in reflecting the nation’s political climate. In Florida, DeSantis won by a mere .4 percent over Gillum. The close election showed an increase in democratic support in Florida. In Texas, the race for the senate showed more purple than red. Texas has been a republican majority state for many years now, but the Cruz versus O’Rourke race showed increasing democratic support. The state experienced a notable shift in votes, especially with a heavily urban democratic presence. Republican Ted Cruz won the election over Democrat Beto O’Rourke, but the close election raises question over which party will dominate the near future.
Democrats also picked up several governorships as a result of the midterms. Kansas, Michigan, New Mexico, Maine, Wisconsin, and Nevada all elected democrats. The significance of these wins is that republicans have controlled 70 percent of the executive mansions as recently as 2016. For democrats, the shift is an important step towards leveling out the playing field as red is slowly turning to blue.