Democrats on the way to achieving House control, lose ground in the Senate

Democrats on the way to achieving House control, lose ground in the Senate

The Democrats won several key races on Tuesday, but did not reach a big victory in the partial "blue wave" elections that many had predicted would reflect a rejection of Donald Trump's presidency.

Near midnight, at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Washington, the Democratic leader of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, celebrated the victories of her party that aimed at regaining control of the House.

The Democrats' chances of regaining the Senate from the Republicans became almost impossible after suffering key losses in Indiana and Tennessee, two states that Trump easily won in 2016.

However, West Virginia Democratic Senator Joe Manchin maintained his seat and defeated Republican Patrick Morrisey, the state's attorney general. Manchin, who voted with Republicans to confirm Brett Kavanaugh in the Supreme Court, criticized Morrisey's work as a lobbyist for pharmaceutical companies saying he benefited from the state's opioid crisis.

With the ballot boxes closed in much of the country, the control of the House of Representatives was changing from Republican hands to Democrats.

The Democrats won their first big victory of the night in the suburbs of Virginia, Washington DC, where Jennifer Wexton, prosecutor and state senator, defeated the Republican incumbent, Representative Barbara Comstock.

Democrat Jennifer Wexton speaks at her party on election night after defeating Rep. Barbara Comstock, Republican for Virginia, on Tuesday, November 6, 2018, in Dulles, Virginia (AP Photo / Alex Brandon).

Democrat Jennifer Wexton speaks at her party on election night after defeating Rep. Barbara Comstock, Republican for Virginia, on Tuesday, November 6, 2018, in Dulles, Virginia (AP Photo / Alex Brandon).

Comstock was expected to lose, but its defeat may be a sign of wider Democratic success, especially in the suburbs, where polls show that women are strongly in favor of Democratic candidates.

With the result of Comstock and another win in Florida, Democrats now need to get 21 more seats to win back the House of Representatives. Democrat Donna Shalala, former US Secretary of Health and Human Services, defeated Republican Maria Elvira Salazar for a seat vacated by Republican lawmaker Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida.

A record 237 women ran in the House of Representatives and 23 in the Senate across the country, including 185 Democrats and 52 Republicans.

It is likely that her victories increase the percentage of women in Congress above 20 percent for the first time. Many appeared as candidates across the country in the last two years, fueled by reports of Donald Trump's behavior towards women, the rise of the #MeToo movement that has published the omnipresence of sexual assault and republican policy platforms on issues that include the right to abortion.

Referendum on Trump

Public opinion polls suggest that opposition Democrats will retake the House of Representatives, but will not be able to seize the Republican Senate in an election for Congress and the governorship that became a referendum on the first two years in the office of President Trump.

The Democrats needed to retake only two seats to obtain the Senate, but the chances of doing so are slim, since they are defending many more seats than the Republicans.

Opportunities in the Democrats' Senate were hit hard in Indiana, where current Democratic Senator Joe Donnelly lost to Republican Mike Braun. In Tennessee, Democrat Phil Bredesen, former governor of the state, lost to Republican Marsha Blackburn, who will become Tennessee's first senator.

In the states that President Trump made a priority – Florida, Georgia, Indiana – Republicans won several important victories for the Senate and governorates. For example, Ron DeSantis, a close ally of Trump and a candidate for governor of Florida, defeated Andrew Gillum, who was trying to become the first black leader in the state. Brian Kemp, the Republican of Georgia, leads Stacey Abrams in the race for state governorship.

The Democrats who at the moment since the closing of the polls seemed to be close to giving a big defeat in the Senate in Texas, in one of the most watched races in the country, lost that bet. His candidate, Beto O'Rourke, who a few months ago was a relatively unknown congressman, lost to Republican Sen. Ted Cruz.

In El Paso, Texas, followers of Senator Cruz celebrated the triumph.

Historical triumphs

However, these elections have already yielded historical results in terms of new legislators, such as the Palestinian-American
Rashida Tlaib from Michigan and American Somali Ilhan Omar from Minnesota who are the first Muslim women elected to the United States Congress.

In Tennessee, Marsha Blackburn is the first woman senator in the state, and Ayanna Pressley is the first black woman to represent the state of Massachusetts in Congress.

Jared Polis is the first gay person elected governor in the United States, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, of New York, the youngest woman elected to the House of Representatives.

Voters in Arlington, Virginia, stand in line waiting to exercise their constitutional right to vote. November 6 of 2018.

Voters in Arlington, Virginia, stand in line waiting to exercise their constitutional right to vote. November 6 of 2018.

High voter turnout

Voter turnout appeared to be very high, despite the bad weather in virtually the entire eastern United States. Polling stations across the country saw long lines, and in some cases there were problems with voting machines, partly due to wet conditions.

The main problems for voters are medical care, immigration and the economy, according to the surveys. However, Trump, who has crossed the entire country causing fear of a multitude of Central American immigrants moving north towards the US border. and Mexico, was also on the minds of most voters, according to the poll.

"Of course it's motivation, I mean, I only became a citizen last year," said Kevin Ombija, a Kenyan voter who now lives in Washington, DC, who is voting for the first time. "Immigrant issues are very important to me … I definitely want to vote everything against (Trump)."

In Orange County, California, William Moody cast his vote for Republicans, even while offering qualified support for Trump.

"I defend their belief that the border should be protected, (but) it may not be as severe as it would be," Moody said. "The president is his own worst enemy with some of his comments, if he modified it and simply did his job in silence, he would help us all."

Immigration approach

Midterm elections are traditionally considered a referendum on a sitting president, but this election seems especially important, in part because Trump has held an unusually large number of rallies in support of Republicans and urged supporters to consider the election as a confirmation of their policies.

President Donald Trump arrives to speak at a rally at the Show Me Center on Monday, November 5, 2018, at Cape Girardeau, Mo .. (AP Photo / Carolyn Kaster).

President Donald Trump arrives to speak at a rally at the Show Me Center on Monday, November 5, 2018, at Cape Girardeau, Mo .. (AP Photo / Carolyn Kaster).

In those rallies, Trump has constantly stoked the fear of immigrants, insisting that his political opponents support things like "open borders" and crime. However, the strategy could be counterproductive if the preliminary results of exit surveys are accurate.

Trump admitted in an interview on Monday that he may have taken a softer tone in his rhetoric, but denied any suggestion that his campaign speeches had fostered racism in the country.

About half of voters say Trump's immigration policies are too harsh, while about a third think they are the right ones, according to a national exit poll of CNN.

The poll suggested that 55 percent of voters disapprove of Trump's performance, while 44 percent approve. In addition, 56 percent of respondents believe that the country is on the wrong track and only 41 percent said it was on the right track.

Power balance

With a Democratic majority in the House of Representatives, Trump will be forced to deal with a change in the balance of power in Washington.

"The House has been a rubber stamp for Trump's agenda, it will not be a rubber stamp anymore," said Jim Kessler of the centrist Third Way Democratic group. "Anything that is done will have to be a bipartisan base."

The Democrats expect a decisive victory that gives them control of the lower house and the triumph of the governors in key states such as Florida, Ohio and Wisconsin.

Voters are also deciding governorships in 36 states, as well as local offices.

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