The U.S. midterm elections are usually dubbed as a performance sheet of the President’s first two years in office after being elected, despite being held to elect candidates to the U.S. House and Senate. The 2018 midterm elections, however, was much more than that. It was an opportunity for the U.S. to show that a majority of them strongly opposed President Donald Trump and his administration for their unhinged, nationalistic and unethical policies. The U.S. Democrats also desperately wanted to gain back control of either the U.S. House or Senate, and provide a much-needed roadblock to the implementation of Trump’s impromptu policies. While they didn’t manage to gain the majority in the U.S. Senate, they overwhelmingly defeated Republicans to take control of the lower U.S. House of Representatives.
While the entire U.S. House was up for a shuffle, only 35 seats on the Senate was up for election – with 26 out of them being held by Democrats and two vacant seats in Minnesota and Mississippi. The odds were against Democrats from the beginning, as 10 out of the 26 seats were in regions that voted for Trump back in the 2016 U.S. elections. Democrats needed a net gain of just two seats to gain a majority in the Senate. According to FiveThirtyEight, Democrats faced the most unfavorable Senate map in 2018 that any party has ever faced in any election. In the end, Republicans defeated Democratic incumbents in three states, as Democrats managed to do so in just two – including for the first time in 30 years in Arizona.
Meanwhile, the notion of an emerging blue wave was much more imminent in the U.S. House. Democrats managed to defeat at least 23 Republican incumbents and pick up an additional 12 open seats, gaining control of the lower house of Congress in what was to be their best performance since the 1974 elections. The group of the people that won was among the most diverse in its history – showcasing Native-American women, openly homosexual men and women, men of color and a large number of women in general. Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York became the youngest member of the House at the age of 29.
With Democrats gaining control of the House, the ground underneath Trump’s foot got slightly thinner. Despite announcing that the results were a victory, Trump is aware that the House will conduct an investigation into the numerous allegations that he has faced over the years. That includes the infamous Russian collusion, not releasing his tax returns, and being accused of sexual misconduct by multiple women. The day after the results got in, Trump fired his attorney general Jeff Sessions to appoint Matt Whitaker, who promised to put an end to the Mueller investigation regarding Russian collusion.
The Senate seat in Florida is still being contested, as incumbent Democratic Senator Bill Nelson lost by a marginal amount to Republican Governor Rick Scott, an amount so small that it triggered a re-election. The decision would not change the fact that Republicans will on the Senate, however it would reduce the margin instead. Nonetheless, Republicans and Donald Trump have felt the effect of the blue wave that swept through the U.S. in the 2018 midterm elections – characterized by relatively high voter participation, as turnout reached the highest level seen in a mid-term election since 1914.