Written by Emory P.C. Whaley |
The U.S. Midterm results bring American politics to a standstill for another two years. American voters made haste to the polls on yesterday, in anticipation of a dramatic battle between the Republicans and the Democrats, following the 2016 Primaries.
All 435 House seats and 35 of 100 Senate seats were up for election. Additionally, 36 governor elections were held, the majority of which were challenging term-limited, retiring, or incumbent Republicans.
The Republicans have maintained control of the Senate, gaining additional seats, and adding to their previous majority.
“The Democrats did manage to gain a majority in the House of Representatives for the first time since 2010.”
However, the Democrats did manage to gain a majority in the House of Representatives for the first time since 2010. The implications of this shift in power suggest that Democrats will have more power to scrutinise the decisions of President Donald Trump and can better implement the checks-and-balances system.
Incumbent House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi will likely seek a return to her former position of Speaker of the House. But, notably, we may see another Democrat challenge Pelosi for the role of Speaker.
This year’s Midterms elected more women in House seats than in any previous election. 87 women were elected as representatives – the majority of whom were Democrats. Two of these women, Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar, became the first two Muslim women elected to Congress. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, aged 29, was the youngest Congresswoman ever to be elected.
And it was certainly an election of firsts – Ayanna Pressley was elected as the first black House member from Massachusetts, with Jahana Hayes being the first from Connecticut. Sharice Davids and Deb Haaland were the first Native American congresswomen to be elected, and Veronica Escobar and Sylvia Garcia were the first Latina congresswomen from Texas to be elected. Colorado elected Jared Polis to be their governor – the first openly gay man to take the role.
Moreover, with the Midterms, Massachusetts voted to maintain their anti-discrimination laws protecting transgendered people’s rights. This vote seemed to be a direct response to the Trump Administration’s recent involvement with the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP), deleting material from an FAQ on LGBT nondiscrimination protection.
Michigan voted to legalise the adult recreational use of marijuana, becoming the first Midwestern state and the tenth overall state to legalise the drug for recreational use. The proposal passed with a 56-44 percentage margin. Additionally, Utah and Missouri passed measures allowing the medical use of marijuana.
“In practice, these results mean the United States will likely exist in a political limbo with the Democratic House of Representatives obstructing Trump’s executive powers…”
Florida voted to automatically restore voting rights to 1.5 million former felons, which makes up over 9% of the voting-age population in Florida.
In practice, these results mean the United States will likely exist in a political limbo with the Democratic House of Representatives obstructing Trump’s executive powers until the 2020 elections. The Democrats’ win follows the historical trend that the party not elected in the White House makes gains in the mid-terms. It remains to be seen if their victory is a sign of a move away from Trump and the Republicans.
The Midterm results represent a divided America to some, but to others they represent the first signs of cooperation and compromise since the 2016 presidential election. The newly elected members bring a message of hope and resilience with their diversity, and policy votes, such as those in Massachusetts, Michigan and Florida, show an acceptance of modern values.