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Was it a Red Wave or a Blue Wave?

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Was it a Red Wave or a Blue Wave?

Photo Credit: DonkeyHotey

Photo Credit: DonkeyHotey

Photo Credit: DonkeyHotey

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Coby’s Take:

On November 6th, people from across the country voted in their state’s Midterm Elections. Up for vote were 34 Senate seats, all of the seats in the House, and 36 gubernatorial seats. The Republicans have 53 seats in the Senate, 199 in the house, and 25 governors. The Democrats have 45 Senate seats, 223 house seats, and 23 governors. The other two Senate seats, which are the Florida and the Mississippi, are both leaning Republican as are the other two gubernatorial races. In the House, 6 seats are leaning Republican and 4 are leaning Democrat. This means that the Republicans have a majority in the Senate and will most likely have a majority among governors, whereas the Democrats have the majority in the House.

Just looking at the numbers, this would not seem to be a win for the Republicans as they lost the House, which they recently controlled. However, if you look at previous elections, this is a victory for them. In 2010, which was the first midterm election under President Obama, the Democrats lost 6 senate seats and 63 house seats. In 2002, however, the Republicans kept both Houses under President Bush. This makes sense, given the political climate at the time and the war just beginning in Afghanistan. In 1994, during President Clinton’s first term, the Democrats lost 9 Senate seats and also lost 54 House seats. Given the history of first-term midterm elections, President Trump gaining seats in one of the chambers is a victory for the Republicans. Also, keeping the Senate is arguably more important than keeping the House. With control of the Senate, Trump can get his court appointments confirmed. The biggest problems with not having control of the House is the possibility of impeachment and a block of any future tax cuts. However, Trump has already gotten his big tax cut through, so he isn’t looking to do another one very soon. Also, impeachment isn’t a problem because the Senate has to remove the President from office, which won’t happen with a Republican Senate. Keeping the Senate will be more important for Trump than keeping the House because he can still get his appointments confirmed by the Senate.

This is why this was a victory of the Republicans. They beat history and gained a few seats in the Senate. However, they lost the House. The was a lesser evil for Trump, because he can do more with a Republican Senate than a Republican House. Even though the Democrats gained the House, this year was not a victory for them. It was still a decent election for them, because they took control of one of the chambers, but the Republicans still got what they needed to achieve their goals.

Winston’s Take:

The House – With California’s 21st Congressional District, the last undecided race of the 2018 midterms, and the vast majority of election wins certified, the numbers are in: Democrats gained 39 House seats, securing a solid 234-seat majority for the next session. Central to their victory was the political shift among sparsely populated suburban areas that voted solidly Republican in 2016, delivering a net Democratic gain of 15 seats. Likewise, densely populated suburban districts that voted solidly Democrat in 2016 shifted more Democratic, with 12 more seats flipping. Overall, the shift was most profound in districts that voted for Romney and Trump in previous elections, accounting for one-third of Democratic pickups – a sharp rebuke of Republican policies that have ostracized many independent and conservative voters alike.

The Senate – In the Senate, Democrats fared better than expected, losing only 2 seats for a 53-seat Republican majority against a brutal electoral map: 74% of senate seats up for election were held by Democrats, the most seats any non-presidential party had to defend in midterms since 1914. In addition, Democrats overperformed in nearly every state, beating even partisan leans of 25+ points in states that voted overwhelmingly for Trump, like West Virginia – which he had previously won with a 36% margin.

The Voters – Both parties’ bases were highly motivated, with voter turnout increasing nearly 10% from the 40% national average; in Texas alone, voter turnout increased 14% to 46% total. Democrat Beto O’Rourke came to within 3 points of Republican Ted Cruz by winning over burgeoning urban voters that already, in five counties alone, encompass 43% of Texas’ population. The combination of high urban population growth and continued high voter turnout is projected to make Texas a swing state by 2024, and much more competitive in 2020, when Senator John Cornyn’s seat is up for election.

The Future – The recent news about Special Counsel Mueller’s investigation into alleged Russian interference and current Democratic control of the House and its Judiciary Committee suggest more conflict ahead. It is necessary among Democratic and Independent voters to protect the Special Counsel – himself a lifelong Republican, former Marine, and 12-year FBI director – from executive interference. However, many Americans expect legislative gridlock in the coming session to stall policy-making at a time when national debt interest, accruing faster due to a recent tax overhaul and spending bill, will surpass defense spending. Moreover, the international status quo increasingly demands unified action.

My Opinion – Keeping in mind the above, the American people have delivered their most resounding verdict yet on the current status quo – one of bitterness, partisanship, and sociopolitical division ordained by populist demagoguery – by voting for checks and balance, rule of law, and reason in candidates professing different views than a Republican contingent that seems bent on abandoning its foundations of fiscal responsibility and constitutionality for political expediency, all the while championing the burning effigy of moral integrity. Its base, the Great Silent Majority of working-class, suburban, law-abiding taxpayers readily abandoned the vitriol and incessant scandals ushered in by this administration in favor of either tepid enthusiasm or the Democratic party. At a time when both parties are becoming more radical, and younger generations are expressing apathy or disdain for the democratic process, the solution is not to set fire to the opposing camp – calling upon an army of horrors, “trigger-words,” slippery slopes, or straw men – but to recognize the true enemy of any self-governing people: fear itself.

 

*These are the views of the writers, and this article does not necessarily reflect the views of Cistercian or the Informer staff*

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