Now that the Midterm Elections are over, it’s time to take a look at what happened. Looking at my last week’s blog posting on this site, it would appear that conventional polling wisdom was right on target:
- In the House of Representatives, Democrats defeated enough Republicans to regain majority control. Nancy Pelosi still appears to have the inside track to be elected Speaker of the House.
- In the Senate, Republicans held onto their majority and even added a few seats. This majority will enable President Trump to appoint the cabinet officials and fill Supreme Court vacancies.
- In state houses across the United States, Democrats regained over 300 legislative seats, while also replacing at least six Republican governors.
After the election, President Trump made a number of statements to the effect that these elections were a great victory for his administration and the Republican party. I’m afraid the Spirited Reasoner finds this claim to be too much to swallow for several reasons:
- No legislation can pass Congress without a majority vote from the House of Representatives. Republican attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) are therefore effectively dead for the next two years.
- Democrats outpolled Republicans by approximately 7 percentage points nationwide.
- Several key Electoral College states that President Trump won to everyone’s surprise in 2016, including Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania, turned decidedly blue in 2018. If these states vote for the Democratic candidate in 2020, he will have a tough time gaining reelection via an Electoral College strategy, as he did in 2016.
- Far more Democratic senators were up for reelection than were Republicans in 2018. In 2020, that situation will be reversed, with far more Republican senators seeking reelection. It will therefore be mathematically easier for Democrats to regain control of the Senate in 2020 than it was in 2018.
- Some of the Republicans who won Senate victories–e. g. Mitt Romney–are not fans of President Trump.
- Some of the Republicans who face reelection in 2020 will choose to distance themselves from the President for political reasons in their home states. It would only require four or five such Republicans to prevent the President from having his way on a controversial issue.