Democrats swept up the majority in the US House and in several state legislative chambers in last night’s midterm election. In addition, Democrats flipped seven key governorships from red to blue in a massive rebuke to President Trump. In total so far, Democrats have gained 27 seats in the House with plenty more races left to be called, and they have kept their losses in the Senate to three seats from states that heavily supported Trump in the 2016 election.
The results of the Senate elections favored Republicans, but Democrats were fighting on the toughest Senate map any party has faced in the history of the country. Out of the nine Senate races that have been called where a Democratic incumbent was running for re-election in a state Trump won in 2016, only three states have gone to the Republican challenger: North Dakota, Indiana, and Missouri. Additionally, Democrat Jacky Rosen defeated GOP incumbent Senator Dean Heller in Nevada in the only Democratic Senate flip of the night. Democratic challengers failed to topple their Republican opponents in the Texas and Tennessee Senate races, though both were seen as long shots by the party.
Senate races in Mississippi, Arizona, and Florida have yet to be decided, although Democrats are expected to lose all three with Florida’s Bill Nelson being the fourth Democratic incumbent to go down if recounts do not go his way. Republicans hope to use their deepened bench in the Senate to rapidly confirm Trump’s judicial nominees as well as keep the new Democratic House in check.
Democrats plan to use their newfound majority in the House to stop the Republicans’ legislative agenda and force Trump to compromise on must-pass bills such as the annual budget. New Democratic committee leaders plan to enact oversight on the Trump administration’s widely reported corruption and abuse through committee hearings, and if necessary, subpoena power.
The newly-elected Democratic Governors of Kansas, Maine, Wisconsin, Michigan, Nevada, Illinois, and New Mexico are part of a Democratic coalition that will work to stop Republicans’ voter suppression efforts on the state level and equalize the political playing field in preparation for 2020. However, Republicans kept several key Governorships that Democrats had hoped to flip, including Florida, Ohio, Iowa, and South Dakota.
In Georgia, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, who would be the first Black woman Governor in American history, is refusing to concede to her Republican opponent, Brian Kemp, who currently leads by a small margin. Kemp, in his dual role as Georgia’s Secretary of State and candidate for Governor, has declared himself the winner despite the egregious voter suppression efforts he implemented against Democratic voters in the runup to the election; Abrams says that there are enough Democratic votes left uncounted for Kemp to lose his majority in the vote count. Regardless, for the first time since before 2010, Democrats will govern a majority of the American population.
Democrats also took control of several state legislative chambers to secure six new unified Democratic state governments in New York, Colorado, Maine, Nevada, New Mexico, and Illinois. Democrats also broke Republicans’ unified government control in Kansas, Michigan, Wisconsin, and New Hampshire. Having new unified state governments means Democrats can pass highly progressive laws that Republicans would otherwise block; additionally, disrupting Republicans’ unified state governments means those states will now need the Democrats’ approval to pass any sort of agenda.
The final popular vote count for the midterm elections is not expected to be known for some weeks as provisional and mail ballots are still being counted throughout the country, but it is expected that Democrats will win the final tally by more than seven percentage points once California, a Democratic stronghold, reports its last votes.