Analysis of the 2018 U.S. Midterm Election

The Results

Voter turnout was exceptionally high at an estimated 114 million votes cast in the House election. With the addition of 16 percent first-time voters this is significantly higher turnout than the past two midterm elections, which saw 25 and 35 million votes cast in 2010 and 2014, respectively. More than $5 billion USD was spent this election cycle.

A ‘Blue Wave’ of Democratic wins did not materialize as projected by polls and the mainstream media. Historically, a president’s party always suffers losses in their first midterm election, with the recent exception being 2002 when Republicans in the White house also gained Senate seats.

Republicans retain control of the Senate, expanding their majority and also preserved key governorships in battleground states that will be key for them in 2020’s presidential election. The Republican's continued hold on the Senate gives them control over all critical federal judicial appointments, including nominations to the Supreme Court.

Democrats take control of the House of Representatives for the first time in eight years. Democrats will be able to delay or stop many of President Trump's legislative priorities, such as funding for a proposed border wall and a new middle-class tax cut, or at least extract major concessions on contentious issues, like immigration reform, beforehand. The Senate will still be able to block anything the Democrats pass.

Narrow majorities for both parties:

  • House: Democrats 221, Republicans 197

  • Senate: Republicans 51, Democrats 46

  • Governor: Republicans 26, Democrats 23

Some results have yet to be determined: Democrat Stacey Abrams hasn’t conceded to Republican and Secretary of State Brian Kemp in Georgia's governor's race, and Arizona’s Senate race remains too close to call. There will be a recount in the Florida Senate race.

 

Analysis

Gaining ground in their Senate majority, Republicans have free rein for judicial appointments and foreign policy. Having won a majority in the House, Democrats have the ability to obtain subpoenas, investigate President Trump, and block the remainder of his legislative agenda.

The Democrats’ hyper-partisan scorched-earth campaign against President Trump, with respect to the Mueller investigation and supposed Russian collusion, has failed to materialize anything evidential and done little to contribute to improved political rhetoric in the country.

The resignation of Attorney General Sessions offers the opportunity to prosecute Democrats who have lied under oath and committed other offenses, including Hillary Clinton, Loretta Lynch, and FBI agency directors Clapper, Brennan, and Comey, downward to those who worked in the Obama Administration and on Hilary Clinton’s presidential campaign.

President Trump has accomplished a great deal that has benefited Americans in the past two years, though there remain issues that ideologically divide Republicans and Democrats, such as healthcare, immigration, and gun policy. With a divided Congress, it would be wise for each side to offer concessions and reach compromise to make progress on major issues, as two years of partisan posturing and mud-slinging will only further frustrate Americans who elected a political outsider with Donald Trump. In lieu of obvious, strong Democratic leadership, it is anticipated Democrat Nancy Pelosi may be elected to Speaker of the House come January 2019 – once again, eight years later – yet she is not an equally matched opponent for the President.

 

Results in Key Races

Three Republicans flipped Senate seats in states Trump won in 2016: Mike Braun in Indiana, Kevin Cramer in North Dakota, and Josh Hawley in Montana.

In Texas, Republican Senator Ted Cruz beat Representative Beto O’Rourke.

In Nevada, Democratic Senator Joe Manchin beat incumbent Senator Dean Heller.

Former Presidential candidate and Republican Mitt Romney won the Senate seat in Utah.

Georgia's dramatic governor's race still hasn't been called with Democratic candidate Stacey Abrams refusing to concede.

Florida is headed for a recount.

Arizona's Senate race remains too close to call.

Mississippi will have to vote in a runoff on November 27th to elect their senator.

 

Election Firsts

Over one hundred women have been elected to the House of Representatives, with a previous record of eighty-four, and exit polls showed 52 percent of voters were women.

The House was also getting its first two Muslim women, Massachusetts elected its first black congresswoman, and Tennessee got its first female senator.

In New York, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez became the youngest women ever elected to Congress at 29 years of age.

Debra Haaland in New Mexico and Sharice Davids in Kansas are the first Native American women in Congress.

In Congress, Ayana Pressley was the first black woman to represent Massachusetts, and Rashida Tlaid in Michigan and Illhan Oman in Minnesota are the first Muslim women to be elected.

Representative Jared Polis in Colorado is the country's first openly gay male governor.

Georgia still hasn’t declared a winner for governor, but if Democrat Stacey Abrams takes the seat, she will be America’s first black woman governor.

 

Ballot Measures

Michigan voters to legalize recreational marijuana use for residents over the age of 21 with retail sales of the product subject to a 10 percent tax. Utah and Missouri approved the use of medical marijuana.

Michigan also voted to give the task of redrawing district maps to an independent commission.

Florida voted to restore voting rights for 1.5 million former convicts, which it enfranchises the largest population in U.S. history since women's suffrage.

Massachusetts voted in favour of protecting transgender rights by prohibiting gender identity-based discrimination in public places, like bathrooms and locker rooms.

Alabama and West Virginia are updating their state constitutions to prevent public funding of abortions. Oregon voters rejected a similar measure.

Washington State approved one of the toughest gun safety laws in the nation with a measure that increases the age limit to buy an assault rifle from 18 to 21 and imposes a 10-day waiting period for purchases.

Idaho, Nebraska, and Utah voted to expand Medicaid to cover an estimated 325,000 low-income residents.

San Francisco, California voters approved a tax on businesses that make more than $50 million per year, directed toward housing for the homeless.