Op-Ed: No one really has any clue about what’s going to happen in the midterms — let’s talk about it
Oct 3, 2018 at 1:01 PMOct 3, 2018 at 1:23 PM
It’s been almost two months since the midterm elections, when, according to the polls, the Democrats, led by House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi, and the Republicans, led by President Trump, were expected to have lost control. The Democrats’ losses were expected to be substantial and of a political nature, while the Republicans’ losses were expected to be “of style” and less consequential. There was little expectation the results would change the fundamental dynamics of American politics. The two-party system in American politics is pretty solidly entrenched and unlikely to be overthrown, as President Bill Clinton or President Obama’s Democratic predecessors would have liked. And yet, the midterm results, and the implications of them, have been very different.
In the House of Representatives, Republicans gained 40 seats, more than they had done at the same point in the last century. But the gains were not nearly big enough for the GOP to regain control, despite the fact that, unlike the 2002 and 2006 midterms, the midterm results were not overwhelmingly Republican. Republicans won a record 24 seats, while Democrats gained just four. But these numbers were also not nearly enough to make a significant dent in the Democrats’ numbers. The Democrats still won 306 seats in the House, which they believe is a record number, while Republicans won just 233. They also captured both chambers of Congress from state governments and increased their majority over the previous century, from the 17 seats they had in 1881 to 35 in 2018.
The Democrats actually increased their Senate majority by just two, from two to four. In the House of Representatives, the Republicans gained 12 seats while the Democrats gained 16. But the Republican losses were not particularly big. They lost 23 seats in the House while winning just 24. And while they’re not likely to get out of the Senate this year as they have the past decade (they passed a bill to replace the Affordable Care Act but it didn’t go anywhere), they’re not sure how many more they can