This was an election of firsts. And both sides have plenty to cheer about. At the same time, both sides suffered losses that leave neither party with a clear mandate from the highly polarized electorate.
- This is the first referendum on Trump’s presidency.
- Mitt Romney became the first in 173 years to be governor in one state and senator in another.
- Michigan’s Rashida Tlaib is the first Muslim woman elected to the House.
- Sharice Davids in Kansas and Deb Haaland in New Mexico will be the first Native American House representatives.
- Colorado’s Jared Polis is the first openly gay man to become governor.
- Janet Mills is Maine’s first female governor.
- Kristi L. Noem will be the first female governor of South Dakota.
Beyond this litany of firsts shared by both sides, the Republicans and Democrats publicly claim victory while privately regrouping after hard losses. The Washington Post offers more description.
“The midterm elections had the energy of a presidential contest in their closing days, with Trump making himself the central figure and hoping to buck the historical trend of major losses for the president’s party in the first midterm vote.”
Clearly, the Democrats can be jubilant about retaking the House. And they are. The Post makes note of this fact.
“‘Thanks to you, tomorrow will be a new day in America,’ said House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.), who is poised to reclaim the speaker’s gavel she lost eight years ago.”
While Pelosi has reason to celebrate, she is also aware of the fact that it is common for the incumbent party to suffer major losses in the midterms. From the Republicans’ perspective, things were not nearly as bad as they could have been.
The piece goes on to talk about both sides suffering losses in states they should have won.
“But Democrats failed to win the governorships in a pair of deep-blue states. Republican Govs. Larry Hogan of Maryland and Charlie Baker of Massachusetts were reelected resoundingly.”
President Trump was pleased enough with the outcome that he plans to use the same strategy in two years when the election really will be about him. Both sides are preparing for a bitter two years. The Democrat-controlled House has already announced that they intend to conduct investigations into the president.
Though the count is mostly in, the election politics focusing on race and nationalism are expected to be merely a preview of what is to come. What is not on the agenda for either side is a long session of hugging it out and making peace for progress.