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Election Season 2018: Wrapping up the Midterms - December 2018

posted Dec 17, 2018, 1:19 PM by RSO The Fenwick Review   [ updated Dec 17, 2018, 1:22 PM ]

by Cameron Smith ‘20

With the 2018 Midterm elections behind us and most of the races called, we can now officially say that the elections went about as well as they feasibly could have for Republicans. As of Wednesday of election week, the Democrats have gained twenty-seven seats in the house, taking the majority, but only barely, guaranteeing themselves a majority by only two seats. There are still twenty-three Congressional races that have yet to be called as of this article’s writing, but a majority of those races are likely to go the way of Republican candidates. Meanwhile, in the Senate, the Republicans have managed to pick up two additional seats, with three races still not called. This has clearly put an end to the predictions of the massive ‘blue wave’ that would occur as a referendum on the President, which is a crushing blow to those on the political left and a cause for celebration for those on the political right.

This election turned out to be a very important victory for Trump and the Republican Party, as they managed to eek out several wins in close races, such as the Senate race in Texas, in tightly contested states. With close races like these going the Republicans’ way, it manages to give a decent sense of the direction in which the country is leaning in the current political climate. With Trump and his party winning some of these close races while also strengthening their red strongholds throughout the nation, Trump is sitting pretty moving into the second half of his first term as president. He managed to get his voter base energized and ready to go to the polls on Election Day, win key races, and solidify the Republican Party as being under his lead.

One of the biggest stories of the election is the change made from the Republican Party to fully become President Donald Trump’s party. President Trump’s popularity was a massive factor in many of the Republican wins in this election cycle. While most midterm elections, especially those taking place in a President’s first term in office, are generally considered to be a referendum on the President, the results did not tell the same story as most members of the political left were telling. With Trump likely conceding only a single-digit lead in the House for the Democrats, he took a much smaller loss than Obama did during his first midterm elections, when he and the Democratic Party lost sixty-three seats in Congress. With President Trump’s approval rating steadily rising in the period of time leading up to the midterms, the results are a good omen for Republicans in terms of reelection hopes in Trump’s 2020 presidential campaign.

       Lastly, another big change that has become more apparent during this election cycle is the growth of the radical movement on the left. With candidates such as Democratic Socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez winning in her New York congressional race, a new age of far-left liberalism has come to the forefront of American politics. Whether or not this ideology will hold and continue to get stronger is not yet clear, but it does show that the left in particular will not just have difficulties deciding the party leadership, but may also have a large amount of inter-party struggle as the Democrats deal with these newcomers who are even more radical. If this continues to be a trend, the Republicans may continue to gain more and more control as time goes on, as a majority of people, even on the left, are against many of the ideas that candidates such as Ocasio-Cortez bring forth. This will be another driving force behind Republican voter enthusiasm in the future, and will potentially give the Republican Party an even bigger advantage moving forward.

The midterm elections this year can serve as a relatively accurate compass to predict the direction in which future elections will go, particularly those in 2020. With the Democrats only picking up a small majority in the House and with the Republicans picking up seats in the Senate, the Republicans, barring a massive controversy surrounding the Trump administration that leads to impeachable offenses, should come out even stronger in the 2020 cycle. Granted, this is based on the assumption that the economy will continue to be strong during the remainder of Trump’s term in office and that he can continue to rile up his voter base, but more likely than not, these factors will remain the same. Given these factors, it is incredibly likely that the Republicans manage to take all three major branches of government (the House, the Senate, and the Presidency) again in the 2020 election cycle, just as they did previously in 2016.

So what does this mean overall? Well, this midterm election cycle turned out to be a big victory for President Trump and Republicans, not for just the next two years but for future election cycles as well. Although they lost the majority in the house, Republicans took many fewer losses in House seats and even picked up seats in the Senate. With Trump and his party winning quite a few close races while also strengthening their red strongholds throughout the nation, Trump managed to get his voter base energized and ready to go to the polls on Election Day, win key races, and solidify the Republican Party as being under his lead. With more radical candidates and seat holders on the left coming into prominence, Republicans should be able to get more voter turnout in future elections. With the Democrats only picking up a small majority in the House and with the Republicans picking up seats in the Senate, the Republicans should come out even stronger in the 2020 cycle.

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