On Tuesday, voters across the nation cast their ballots for governors, members of Congress, and state and local legislators. While Democrats didn’t quite see the “blue wave” they were hoping for, the party did make significant gains, particularly in the House of Representatives. Meanwhile, Republicans performed well also, particularly in the Senate. Here, Election Central takes a look at some election highlights.
It is typical for the party in power to lose control of one of the houses of Congress in a midterm election, and that’s exactly what happened on Tuesday. Democrats gained 35 seats in the House of Representatives, which puts them in control of that half of the U.S. Congress. However, Republicans retained control of the Senate. Not only that, they managed to increase their majority by picking up a few seats. In governor’s races, Democrats made progress as well, gaining six new Democratic governors.
The takeaway here is that the country is still very divided politically. While many people indicated that their vote was a protest against Trump, many others also cast their ballots in favor of the GOP and its policies.
Take a look at the election results coverage provided by these three main news sources. Do you notice any differences in how these sources present their information?
Last week, Election Central took a look at some key races to watch. In all of these, Republicans were (or are likely to be) victorious. In Texas, Democrat Beto O’Rourke lost by a narrow margin to Republican Senator Ted Cruz for the Senate seat. Nevertheless, Democrats note that Texas is traditionally a Republican stronghold, and for O’Rourke to do so well in a “deep red” state has many Democrats calling this one a moral victory and a sign of good things to come. In Florida, Democrat Andrew Gillum, mayor of Tallahassee, lost to former Republican congressman Ron DeSantis, a vocal Trump supporter.
In Georgia, in what became one of the most-watched races of the season, Republican Brian Kemp is likely to be victorious over Democrat Stacey Abrams. This race has gained widespread national attention (Oprah Winfrey even canvassed door-to-door on Abrams’ behalf.) because Kemp is also Georgia’s secretary of state. This meant he has been in charge of overseeing his own election. Accusations of voter suppression–from throwing out registrations of African America voters, to not supplying power cables to voting booths in predominantly black districts on Election Day–has been a concern for the duration of the race. As of Wednesday morning, Abrams, the former minority leader of the Georgia House of Representatives, has refused to concede the race until all of the absentee ballots have been counted.
The 2018 midterm election also saw many important and historic moments. A record number of women (as of Wednesday morning, at least 96) have been elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. Moreover, Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar have become the first Muslim women in Congress. Sharice Davids and Deb Haaland are now the first Native American women elected to Congress (Davids is also the first openly gay Native American elected to Congress). Jared Polls, the newly-elected governor of Colorado, will be the first openly gay man to serve as a governor of any state. Kristi Noem is now the first female governor in South Dakota. And Texas elected its first Hispanic women to Congress: Veronica Escobar and Sylvia Garcia.
Why is an increasingly diverse Congress so important? Because Congress will more closely reflect the population and hopefully do a better job representing all Americans if it includes a wide variety of ages, races, ethnic backgrounds, socioeconomic groups, religions, genders, and sexual orientations.