Going into the midterms, polling was predicting a few things. Polls said that Democrats would flip the House of Representatives but would probably be unable to win the Senate as well. Both predictions proved correct come Wednesday morning. The media also predicted a “blue wave:” an influx of Democratic victories at all levels of state and local governments. But did the blue wave become a reality?
The Democrats outperformed even the most optimistic polling in House elections. Most thought they’d take the House, but nobody was predicting they would win 31 seats. What’s more, every incumbent House seat lost in the 2018 midterm elections was previously held by a Republican.
In state-level elections, the Democrats took over seven legislations previously held by Republicans. This is a clear indication that voters nationwide are passionate about changing the current trajectory of our government.
Surprising no one who studies polls, the GOP kept their control of the Senate. What is heartbreaking for the American left is the Democrats lost two Senate seats this year. There are multiple factors to how this happened, not least among them the fact that the GOP had 42 senators who were not up for reelection this year. That’s what six-year terms will get you.
Also, the Democratic incumbents in these elections were from traditionally red-states and were actually the underdogs in these elections. Unfortunately for them, we saw some conservative-based campaigning from the Democrats in these states, and the rest is history.
Unfortunately for the Republicans, this election didn’t help their power dynamic in the Senate. The two-thirds majority they need to control the Senate has eluded them for another two years.
What nobody is talking about is the multiple Governor victories the DNC had on election night. The Democrats managed to pick up the governorship in seven states. If there is any true indication of a blue wave, this is it. People in multiple states are choosing to change their own leadership parties. And every one of the Governors who lost Tuesday night, or who look like they will lose in the close-races, are Republicans.
What does this mean for the next two years?
Winning back the House of Representatives was instrumental for the Democratic Party’s national strategy going forward. Controlling the House gives the Democrats a voice in Washington again, which they will need as we near the 2020 Presidential race.
A huge opportunity awaits the Democratic Party in January: the ability to issue subpoenas. Control of the House Judiciary Committee gives the Democrats the ability to get witnesses on record regarding subjects like the Trump/Russia investigation, inappropriate security clearances given to members of the Trump family, foreign contributions to the Trump Foundation, and many more.
Each of these issues could reveal information that is disastrous for Trump’s 2020 reelection campaign. However, serving too many subpoenas may appear to be an unfair attack on the current administration. The new committee will need to carefully strategize which to pursue come the new year.
How do Democrats ride the wave?
The 2018 midterms set records for voter turnout. There were 30 million more voters than in the 2014 midterms. Trump has been praised for energizing voters, and it’s true. However, he is energizing voters for the wrong side.
When voter turnout is higher, Democrats win. It’s a fact. What the Democrats need to do is deliver on progressive promises and continue to energize voters, especially young, educated voters. If young people voted at the same rate as elderly voters, the Democrats would never lose another election.