House Goes to Democrats, While GOP Increases Senate Majority

November 7, 2018

Americans woke up this morning to the political pundits analyzing the divergent results from yesterday’s midterm elections — Democrats taking over the House, while Republicans made gains in the Senate, and Republicans keeping governorships in the battleground states of Florida and Ohio.

While a number of close House races have not yet been called, it appears that the Democrats likely will have a 17 to 20 seat advantage in the lower chamber, while the Republicans will pick up three to five seats on the other side of Capitol Hill, depending on the outcomes of the Arizona and Montana Senate races.

Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), who is expected to become the next Speaker of the House, said that Democrats will try to find common ground with President Trump on a number of issues, including infrastructure. The Republican pickups in the Senate enables the president to continue to reshape the federal judiciary and gives him leverage in budget negotiations.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) previously has said that divided government is a time to get things done on Capitol Hill, referencing Social Security reform in 1983, the 1986 Tax Reform Act, and the Clinton-era welfare reform.

“ILMA has a long track record of working with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, and that won’t change with this week’s election results,” said ILMA CEO Holly Alfano. “The Association will continue to advance members’ interests on infrastructure, healthcare, regulatory relief and other issues in the next Congress.”

While the Democrats’ “blue wave” did not quite materialize, the voting exposed a deepening gulf between rural voters and those in U.S. cities and suburbs. Democratic gains in the House largely were concentrated in densely-populated, highly-educated and diverse areas around cities across the country. House Democrats recruited military veterans and national security experts without partisan backgrounds, and these candidates reassured swing voters that they did not support single-payer health insurance, open borders, and other progressive agenda items.

Republicans’ Senate victories in the Senate came in conservative states where President Trump’s popularity has remained steady or grown since 2016. Republicans had an easier electoral map in the Senate, with incumbent Democrats running in many states the president carried two years ago.

“It will take a while before the significance of this week’s elections becomes apparent,” Alfano added. “President Trump and his policies were not affirmatively rejected by a majority of voters, and Democrats underperformed in comparison with historical markers for midterm elections when the president’s approval rating is below 50 percent.”