Election Day 2018 has come and gone, leaving the rest of us to settle the inevitable fallout. Just like every other midterm election, this one was billed as a referendum on the sitting president and his party. Given the successes enjoyed by the Democrats on November 6th, many are claiming the results to indicate a blatantly obvious repudiation of Donald Trump's Republican Party.
But is that truly the case? Ehhh, not quite. Interpreting the results of the midterms not so much of a clear cut answer so much as it is a "choose your own adventure" type of situation.
Yes, the Democrats taking control over the House of Representatives is (in Trump's own words) YUGE for them, make no mistake about it. Despite the distinction of being the "lower" body of Congress, the House still wields considerable power as a legitimate check on President Trump and his legislative agenda. The Democrats now control the government's purse-strings as all spending bills begin in the House. They now hold the power of subpoena and the ability to open investigations, presumably into Trump-world. Oh, and should it ever get to this point, impeachment proceedings begin in the House as well.
The ball is now in Trump's court. Does he decide to buckle down and work with the Democrats to attempt getting legislation passed? Or does he turn them into the villains and gridlock becomes worse than ever? As the leader of this country, it is truly up t him.
Election Night 2018 was just as big for the Democrats as it was for the Republicans in 2010 when they took the House themselves. This is a blow to the GOP's power in DC and they will find difficulty moving forward. However, this was not the "blue wave" many were expecting. The tides may have shifted in some respects, but this was hardly a divine mandate from the American people.
The Republicans may have lost the House but they look like they will expand their majority in the Senate. The Senate Democrats were disadvantaged from the start by defending more seats, some of which reside in states Trump won, and the GOP capitalized. North Dakota, Missouri, and Indiana all flipped from blue to red. Depending on how Florida turns out after their recount, there may be another Republican pick-up. Notably, those four red-state Democratic senators all voted against Justice Brett Kavanaugh, Trump's Supreme Court nominee.
Perhaps the biggest victories for the Republicans was the fact they won the three most emotional, nationally covered races in the country. Beto O'Rourke lost his Texas Senate bid to incumbent Ted Cruz, Tallahassee mayor Andrew Gillum did not become the Governor of Florida, and although she has not yet officially conceded, Stacey Abrams does not appear to have the math on her side needed to win the governor's race in Georgia. All three were hyper-progressive candidates, with Beto O'Rourke running to the left of even Bernie Sanders. Their defeats signify lurching to the far left is not a viable option in moderate/conservative areas in the country.
The Republicans also retained control of the Governor's Mansion in Ohio as well. Florida and Ohio are the "swingiest" of swing states. With the GOP controlling both, it will help them immensely when redistricting happens after the 2020 census.
In the end, We The People are going to take what we want out of this election. If you're a Democrat you are thrilled you now have legitimate power once more. If you're a Republican you're thrilled about the expanded Senate majority and critical governorship victories. Conversely, whichever you are, you're disappointed (to say the least) in the opposite side's victories.
Before this election, I held a certain level of optimism, just like I did before 2016. That optimism remains unaltered. America will be fine. The beauty of this is we'll have the opportunity to do this all over again in two years!