Lessons from US Midterm Polls: This Was Not A Blue Wave But The Signs Are Encouraging
United States Capitol, home of the United States Congress (Photo: Wesleyan Church)

The evening of November 6 did not bring about a blue wave that would have swept away US President Donald Trump and Republican Senators supporting him.

The Republican Party has in fact kept their majority in the US Senate and could gain more seats before the night is done in North America. But the Democrats have won the House of Representatives. It has been a night of mixed results.

At the time of writing this article the Republicans were at 51 seats while the Democrats had 44, with five seats still in play.

The lesson for Democrats from this race is that some of Donald Trump’s messaging on illegal immigration has found resonance among American voters. The economy’s buoyancy meant that the election was fought on factors that had to be manufactured. The Republicans created the illegal immigration invasion scenario and were pumped up by the drawn out nomination process for Supreme Court justice Brett Kavanaugh. The Democrats created the fear that Republicans were looking to strip Americans of their healthcare benefits and were pumped up by Donald Trump’s unpresidential behaviour.

Both factors brought out voters in record numbers but the Senate race showed that the states that Donald Trump won during his presidency have more or less retained their support of him. This is the clearest indication yet to the Democrats that despite Donald Trump’s unconventional presidency, a big chunk of the U.S. still supports him. They tolerate his histrionics because they seem to be agreeing to his policies – over trade and immigration. This also means the 2020 presidential race is in full play.

The Democrats have won the US House of Representatives. Out of 435 seats they have won 201 seats and are projected to win another 18. The Republicans have won 187. This win means that Donald Trump’s rule will be challenged by Democrats at every turn and the next two years could see a gridlocked government with a split Congress. This also means that Democrats will go after Donald Trump’s tax returns which he has refused to release and also re-open the investigation into Russian meddling which was closed by the Republican committee. What they won't be able to achieve is his possible impeachment.

But the bigger lesson to be learnt is that there is a fundamental shift in the U.S. in the kind of people who have been elected to the House of Representatives. This house has many firsts in terms of the background of the candidates who have been elected.

  • Two muslim women have been elected
  • Ocasio-Cortez is the youngest woman to be ever elected to the US Congress
  • First Native American woman has been elected to the Congress
  • An openly gay man has been elected as the state of Colorado’s governor

The wins show that the diversity that exists in the U.S. is now being increasingly reflected in the elected representatives of the people. Vice versa it means that people belonging to minority categories are comfortable running for a public office. This trend generally favours the Democratic party as they are liberals but not necessarily.

However, this is definitely a good thing for the U.S. as a country.