Midterm Summary

Midterm Summary November 7, 2018

Well, what a mixed bag of nuts that was. It wasn’t quite the Democratic blue wave that we were warned in the media hype that could happen. However, there were some notable movements within the American political system. No doubts, all of you will know by now facts the Democrats made sizeable gains in the house and a few significant losses in the Senate’s, meaning a political split between the lower and upper houses. In the gubernatorial races, Democrats made some gains on the road to political parity (including, just now, Connecticut).

Many critics have said that this isn’t the blue wave that we were told about, but I think there is a notable shift towards the Democrats that perhaps hasn’t hit the headlines in the same way.

As The Guardian stated:

State-level victories in midterm elections were supposed to be a Democratic weak point. But when a lot of people turn out to vote the results reflect that. Control of statehouses and legislatures is crucial to the battles over gerrymandering, voting rights, abortion rights, immigration, climate change – it’s a bi[g] deal. And last night the Democrats performed.

Hopefully, this is good news for the sort of stuff from policies that I argue about here at ATP. As Anthony Zurcher points out, though:

Obama had a net los[s] of 968 legislative seats during his presidency, so a 333-seat swing to the Democrats yesterday is noteworthy.

It is gutting to see all the great work of Beto O’Rourke, Andrew Gillum and Stacey Abrams not come to fruition. They fundraised and worked their socks off and were only inches away from success. They all have bright futures ahead of them. Abrahams is holding on by her fingernails to a hopeful success in Georgia but I find that outcome highly unlikely. In some rural areas, Ted Cruz was still getting upwards of 95% of votes!

The urban/rural divide is as big as ever, it seems. And this was repeated across the country.

But, as The Guardian states, in relation to the blue wave:

The ‘blue wave’ washes up in weird places

Democrats won seats in places like Oklahoma and South Carolina on Tuesday night in addition to their expected victories in suburban districts around urban centers. The result is that there will be several members of the new Democratic majority running for re-election in traditionally Republican areas that Trump won by double digits in 2016. This serves up an additional check on what the new but narrow Democratic majority will be able to do legislatively in the next two years.

And, annoyingly, things look okay, as it stands, for Trump 2020:

Trump’s 2020 election map still looks OK

While Democrats made gains in some of the states that were part of the much vaunted “blue wall” in 2016, Trump is still in strong position in the swing states that gave him his electoral college victory.

Democrats lost governor’s races in Florida and Iowa that party operatives were feeling bullish about. Further, Democrats had an underwhelming performance in Ohio, where gubernatorial nominee Richard Cordray lost and incumbent senator Sherrod Brown won by only six points against a weak Republican. All are states that Barack Obama won twice but that Trump won in 2016, and are a indication that Republicans may have made lasting gains in those states.

However, Democrats did eke out a narrow win to beat Scott Walker in Wisconsin and comfortably won the governor’s office in Michigan.

With a switching allegiance of the House, Americans do have some interesting times ahead of them. There is every chance that this subpoenas could materialise, that important legislation could be introduced or problematic legislation reversed, and we could see Trump under some amount of pressure. We are likely to see Robert Mueller given fresh impetus, much to the chagrin of Trumpists.

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On the other hand, with the Senate being comfortably in the hands of the Republicans, we could see any new confirmations pass with consummate ease. We won’t have the Kavanagh-style hearings we have seen in the recent past, I predict.

One particularly noteworthy point to make is the coming to power of 98 women as a result of these midterm elections. There are many firsts in this context and women have been at the forefront of these elections. The cultural tide is turning in institutional America, and that can’t be overstated enough. This is a good, good thing. Mitch McConnell, Senate Majority Leader, has just been speaking at a press conference on the need for The Republican party to do better on this front as the Democrats have really taken the lead.

There are also possible recounts going on, too, especially in Florida with Rick Scott and Bill Nelson.

It’s also worth pointing out that the Greens split the vote in Arizona for Sinema, who, though it’s presently too close to call, look to have possibly lost Sinema the Senator’s seat.

Republicans have suffered in metropolitan areas:

 

Obama has also weighed in, seeing a start to the change he wants:

 

Criminal justice has been affected in this election. The Appeal stated in a roundup :

Democrat J.B. Pritzker wins the Illinois governor’s race. Pritzker campaigned strongly on marijuana legalization.

Florida voters have approved Amendment 4, automatically restoring voting rights in the state for people previously convicted of felonies. The victory means more than 1 million people will regain the right to vote.

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf wins re-election. Now the state’s moratorium on executions will continue for at least four more years.

With Rachel Rollins winning the Suffolk County district attorney race she will be bringing reform to charging practices in Boston. Rollins plans to decline to prosecute several low-level offenses.

Amendment 11 passed in Florida. This amends Florida’s Constitution so sentencing reforms can apply retroactively—the state’s Constitution previously barred retroactive application.

Nashville passes Amendment 1, which creates a police oversight board with subpoena power to investigate and make recommendations on police misconduct claims.

Bexar County, Texas, goes from tough-on-crime to Joe Gonzales who has promised to reform bail, roll back the death penalty, and stop criminalizing poverty.

Read the whole thread here.

Going forward, I think the Democrats need to concentrate on policy reform and real, tangible changes that will affect society at large. They will need to navigate a fine line between wanting to impeach Trump and subpoena and do all those big, noisy things, and changing policy on the ground and in the Chambers. They still have a lot of work to do.

Ans finally, as my mate in the US said:

New York and California Republicans just elected two guys under FEDERAL INDICTMENT. These two scumbags are awaiting trial for criminal corruption and were STILL elected. Along with the virulent racists in other parts of the country. “Law and Order” party, my ass. “Party of Morality”, my ass.

Democrats still won big, but I am deeply ashamed of my countrymen

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