In a “blue ripple,” the Democrats took the House of Representatives and many contentious governor races in the midterm elections Nov. 6. Following a two-year period of a Republican-dominated legislature and presidency, this change represents shifts in voting patterns since the 2016 election and is expected to impact policy direction.
Through their victory in the House, the Democrats now have effective veto power over the Trump administration’s legislative initiatives. Republicans are expected to struggle to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, according to NBC.
The Democrats’ win also places them in the position to investigate the Trump administration, including the Russian connection to President Donald Trump’s campaign, controversial spending by his Cabinet secretaries and Trump’s personal income tax returns, according to NBC.
History teacher Francine Werner ’68 said that while many believe that the Democrats can only focus on one issue or the other, she feels they can successfully manage to address several.
“They are centered around different committees, and there is absolutely no reason they can’t try to revive some sort of commitment to the healthcare or other issues that have propelled them along with the investigation,” Werner said. “They just need to get all their ducks in a row.”
The Democrats also made substantial gains on the gubernatorial level, flipping seven of the nation’s governorship. These gains will play a key role in redistricting battles to come after the 2020 Census, as Democrats will likely try to reverse Republican gerrymandering from 2010, according to the Washington Post.
However, according the The Atlantic, Democrats fell short of some of their gubernatorial goals, losing to Republican governors in predominantly blue states.
The Republicans also not only maintained their majority in the Senate but added several seats. This win will allow Trump to continue to gain approval on future conservative Supreme Court nominees and offers him greater protection from potential impeachment, according to NBC.
The results of the midterm elections reflect changes in voting patterns of key demographics since the 2016 presidential election.
Republicans maintained their base of rural voters, which served as an advantage in Senate races in predominantly white heartland states, according to the Atlantic. However, suburban voters shifted to the left this election. According to The New York Times, the Democrats flipped 30 seats, the majority of which were in suburban districts.
High turnout levels in key voter groups also bolstered Democrats. Democrats won the women’s vote for Congress by the largest margin ever recorded in midterm exit polls. Thirty-one percent of voters under the age of 30 turned out to vote in the elections, the highest number in at least 25 years, according to Real Clear Politics, and NBC news analysts cited them as important contributors to Democratic gains.
“I think that it’s awesome to have a young voter turnout as large as we did,” Rachel Grode ’19 said. “It’s really important that kids our age are becoming involved in politics because, ultimately, we’re the fate of our country, and there’s really no one else who can make the changes our generation wants to see. It’s time that we take accountability into our hands.”