In the early hours of the election night on Tuesday, a consensus began to emerge that the much vaunted Democratic blue wave that had been talked about all year was not materializing. Now, with a handful of races to call, it is clear that an anti-President Trump force has hit the country with considerable strength, though uneven.
According to the strategists of the two parties, the Democrats seem to be winning between 35 and 40 seats in the House. This would be the largest democratic gain in the House since the 1974 post-Watergate elections, when the party won 49 seats three months after Richard M. Nixon resigned from the presidency.
Republicans will get seats in the Senate, but as the races in Florida and Arizona have still not been convened, their 51-seat pre-election majority will end at 52 or 54. Democrats have won seven governorates some of the losses incurred in 2010 and 2014 and hundreds of seats in the legislature, where they had virtually been eliminated in the two previous mid-term elections.
The Democrats' gains this week are still far below what the Republicans have won in their historic victories of 1994 and 2010. But they would overshadow the number of seats won by the Democrats in 2006, the last time the party took over the control of the House. the gain of 26 seats in 1982, when the national unemployment rate was 10%. This year the elections took place with an unemployment rate of only 3.7%.
Day after day, the outlook for Democrats in the House has improved. In congressional congressional committee offices, the Democratic Democrats' Congress, the good mood has increased all week as more and more races have fallen into the party column. Here's a joke that has gone around the question: "It's actually more a Hanukkah than a Christmas election," that is, day-to-day, instead of just one.
It was still an election that tested the strength of the economy, which favored the president's party, compared to the low approval rate of the president, which, together with the record of the previous mid-term elections , indicated the democratic gains. In the end, history and presidential approval combined to give Democrats control of the House, which seems like a comfortable margin.
The democratic wave hit hardest in the suburbs, many of which are traditional Republican territory, where graduates from higher education – particularly women – were unhappy with the Democratic challengers supported by the president. Ronald Brownstein of Atlantic and CNN, who have watched these changes closely in many elections, noted in a post-election article that before the elections, two-thirds of Republicans represented parliamentary constituencies where the percentage of the population graduated was below the university average. the national average. After the elections, he said, more than three quarters of GOP House members will now represent these districts.
Democrats overturned about two-thirds of the competitive districts won by both Hillary Clinton in 2016 and by Barack Obama in 2012 or by Clinton in 2016 and Mitt Romney in 2012. They also took over one-third of Trump's districts in 2016 and Obama 2012. In the districts where Trump and Romney had won the two previous elections, the Democrats won about a quarter of the seats in the running.
The number of narrow margins of victory, on both sides, was also striking in home runs. About 20 Democrats have won or are leading in races where the margin is less than five percentage points, while about two dozen Republicans who have won or are leading are in races with similar margins.
This indicates that the result in 2018 could have been much better for the Democrats or worse if the political winds had been different. This also foreshadows another highly contested House election in 2020.
The final result of the Senate races this year will also have an impact on 2020. The difference between a 54 or 52-seat majority would have a huge impact on the Democrats' chances of taking control in two years.
Republicans are waiting to defend 22 seats until the election, against only 12 Democrats. These include the seat of Senator Cory Gardner (right) in Colorado, the seat of Senator Susan Collins (right) in Maine and the seat in Arizona which is now occupied by Senator Jon Kyl (to the right). Senate Republicans Joni Ernst of Iowa and Thom Tillis of North Carolina are expected to face competitive races. Democrat Doug Jones of Alabama, who won the special election last year, will also face a daunting challenge.
Beyond the number of victories and defeats, the 2018 election was marked by the way it deepened many of the divisions and changes of allegiance that are changing the political landscape of the country. This has implications for policy in 2020 and beyond.
Democratic strategists have been encouraged by exit polls that show the underlying national demographic trends that led to their gains, particularly in the states bordering California, Arizona, New Mexico, and New York. from Texas.
Voters under 29 years of age voted for Democrats compared to Republicans from 67% to 32%, a margin that beats the previous record of the 2008 presidential election. Latin American voters have equaled their share of national voice of 11% in the 2016 high voter turnout elections. Democrats won 69% of the votes cast nationwide, a little more than the 66% recorded in the election of Trump. Asian voters, who represent about 3% of the electoral population, have largely rallied to the Democrats with a margin of 77% to 23%.
"The emerging electorate, who will dominate American politics over the next generation, has supported the Democrats in record numbers," said Simon Rosenberg, a Democratic strategist. "Democrats have not only won the 2018 elections, but in a way that should worry Republicans about 2020."
Republican pollster Whit Ayres said, "For me, the big story is that the mid-term election of 2018 has stepped up and accelerated the patterns seen in 2016. You had smaller, overwhelmingly more and more whites in the Republican Party and suburban counties, especially those with a high proportion of well educated voters, going exactly in the opposite direction. "
New returns have raised Republican concerns in Western states. Chuck Coughlin, a Republican advisor to former Arizona governor Jan Brewer (right), said that it was clear that Trump 's approach to dealing with the problem was a big one. Immigration in the last weeks of the campaign did not include the nuance required for a state like Arizona, where immigrants play a central role. in the economy.
"One thing is certain, the caravan's rhetoric does not resonate in this state as well as in the Midwest," Coughlin said. "We have done extensive research and we have consistently shown that border security is a major issue, but the immigration reform component of this issue is integral to the future of the state. . "
Republicans in the state, however, were surrounded by Trump's support among Republican primary voters, forcing Republican Senate Representative Martha McSally to turn right to immigration. "She never modulated," said Coughlin. "She did not create a separation." The representative of the Democratic Senate, Kyrsten Sinema, now has a small lead on this race.
In neighboring Colorado, the Democrats won every race at the state level, got a seat in the House, took control of the state Senate and also swept away most secret ballot races. "We are not Ohio, Michigan or the Midwest. The college-educated suburban voter – they do not like Trump because of his behavior, "said Dick Wadhams, former state GOP president.
In Nevada, Democrats got a seat in the Senate and the governorship and maintained their positions in two competitive districts of the House of Representatives, a sign of the persistence of a change in what was a state closely challenged in the last elections.
Democrats have failed in two other developing states of the sunshine belt. In Texas, Democratic representative Beto O'Rouke lost the Senate race to outgoing Senator Ted Cruz, but managed to win 48% of the vote. Meanwhile, Democrats have taken over two suburban districts of Congress.
In Georgia, the Democrat Stacey Abrams is ahead of Republican Brian Kemp in the race for governors, but the changing dynamics of the voting system worries some Republicans for the next election.
"When you have someone like Stacey Abrams who carries a large Atlanta county like Gwinnett, like Hillary Clinton, the formula of Republican victories in Georgia has been completely overthrown," Ayres said.
Other results, however, go in a different direction, which offers some encouragement to Republicans, beyond the increase in the slim majority in the Senate.
Ohio seems to be moving away from Democrats, mainly because of cultural problems. Since 1994, Republicans have won nearly nine out of ten contests throughout the state. The GOP's victory in the governorship race opened on Tuesday was the latest blow to the Democrats, although Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown has retained his seat.
Democrats also failed in their choice of governors in Iowa, although they won two seats in the House. They struggled to win in home races at Republican strongholds such as Kentucky, North Carolina and Nebraska.
Florida remains a major concern in the run-up to the 2020 elections, while the state will likely play a crucial role in Trump's trajectory to win a second term. Unlike the Latino vote elsewhere in the country, the Cuban, Puerto Rican and Central American populations of the Sunshine State split more evenly, while Governor Rick Scott (right) was conducting an aggressive awareness campaign.
"Democrats have underestimated how much Hispanic support can be exploited by Republicans in Florida," said Miami-based pollster Fernand Amandi. "It's about margins."
Of the 15% of voters in this state who were Latino, Scott managed to win 45%, according to polls at the polls, including a slight majority of Latino men. The Republican candidate for governorship, former Congressman Ron DeSantis, managed to win 44% of Latino voters.