As the last votes were tallied on Tuesday night, The Democratic Party rejoiced as their takeover of the US House of Representatives was cemented. The Republican Party happily remained in control of the senate. There were whispers of a democratic “blue wave” that would knock republicans out of power, but this seems to have been a fairytale told in hopes of increasing voter turnout. What is now being called the “blue shift” allowed democrats to win some crucial races in states that voted for Trump in the 2016 election.
Tuesday’s election created a bipartisan congress, which means both parties will have to work together in order to get things done. This election showed that republicans have not been hurt by Trump, and seem to be going strong. However, it also showed that there is a definitive split in our nation — those for Trump and those against him.
Although republicans will retain their power in the senate, the democrats now have the power to lead the discussion in the house when it comes to important decisions on redistricting after the 2020 census. The new districts could make or break candidates in the 2020 presidential election. The democratic majority can also take the initiative to start investigations against Trump and subpoena his party. This opportunity could also be a threat to anyone trying to get legislation passed through congress as it could cause a rift among the Republican senate and democratic house.
People of all affiliations and opinions came out to vote in the midterms. It was thought that 2018 would be a historic year for voter turnout. Democrats would come out to wrestle some power away from Trump’s party, while the republicans would show up in order to support their president. People were spurred into action this election cycle – most could not go a day without receiving texts, emails, and phone calls from volunteers trying to get people out to the polls. Although, it could be seen as annoying, it worked, and we saw some of the highest voter turnout in decades.
It was a historic election for Florida, which is a swing state in presidential elections. Donna E. Shalala, who was president of The University of Miami from 2001 to 2015, won her bid for a seat in the House of Representatives. Shalala was able to flip Florida’s 27th district to Democrat for the first time in decades. The race for governor was extremely close, with Republican Rick DeSantis leading Andrew Gillum by only a close margin of victory. If Gillium had won, he would have been the first black governor of Florida. One important vote at the polls was Florida’s bid to approve a constitutional amendment that would reverse the states stringent laws on felons voting rights. This Jim Crow era policy had not allowed citizens convicted of felonies to vote after finishing their sentence. This amendment being passed means that voting rights have been restored to over 1.4 million people in the state of Florida.
Not only was it a historic day for Florida, but as a nation this election allowed for the appointment of the highest number of women in decades. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez will be the youngest women to ever serve in Congress in New York’s 14th district at just 29 years old. Ayanna Pressley became the first women of color to be elected to congress in Massachusetts. Rashida Tlaib in Michigan and Ilhan Omar in Minnesota will be the first muslim women in congress. Tennessee elected Marsha Blackburn as the first women elected to the senate from their state. We have come a long way since the last election which showed an increase in white male elects in office.
In the end, the election concluded in a compromise with neither side truly getting as much control as they wanted. Only time will tell that the changes will mean for our congress, and the decisions coming out of it. Hopefully, we don’t end in a stalemate.