Yesterday, the 2018 midterm elections came to a breathtaking conclusion as huge numbers of voters headed to the polls. While Republicans and President Trump supporters fought to keep their grip on the House and Senate, Democrats hoped to form a “blue wave” to take over one or both.
It was a mixed bag – with neither side getting exactly what they wanted. While Republicans were able to hang on to their lead in the Senate (even picking up a few seats), they lost overwhelmingly in the House. Democrats are now solidly in control of the House of Representatives, placing a new oppositional “check” on President Donald Trump’s power – something he hasn’t had to deal with in his first two years in office.
The Progressive Wave
The wave that swept across the country may not have been as blue as some voters would have liked, but it was beautifully progressive. Among the progressive victories:
- A record number of women elected to Congress
- Ayanna Pressley is the first African-American woman elected to the U.S. Congress in Mass.
- Jared Polis becomes the first openly gay governor in the U.S.
- Sharice Davids and Deb Haaland become the first Native American women elected to the U.S. Congress.
- Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib become the first Muslim women elected to U.S. Congress. Omar is also the first Somali-American in Congress.
Progress By State
Editor’s Note: Not all results listed below are final, and changes may occur as final votes are tallied over the coming days.
Arkansas raises the state minimum wage to $11/hr by 2021.
California authorizes the state to use the tax revenue from incomes above $1 million for homelessness prevention and housing for those in need of mental health services.
Colorado removes a section of the Colorado Consitution that says slavery and involuntary servitude are allowable for the punishment of a crime.
Florida restores the right to vote for people previously convicted of a felony once their sentence is complete, except for those convicted of murder or a felony sexual offense.
Florida bans any offshore drilling for natural gas or oil beneath state waters.
Idaho expands Medicaid eligibility to people whose income is 133 percent of the federal poverty line and below, and who are not otherwise eligible for state insurance coverage.
Louisiana approves an amendment to require a unanimous jury verdict in felony convictions.
Massachusetts upholds a bill prohibiting discrimination based on gender identity, including in retail stores, restaurants, and hotels.
Michigan legalizes recreational marijuana use.
Missouri increases the state’s minimum wage to $12/hr by 2023.
Missouri legalizes medical marijuana use.
Nebraska expands Medicaid coverage to people whose income is 138 percent of the federal poverty line and below.
Nevada exempts feminine hygiene products from the sales tax.
Utah legalizes medical marijuana use for those with qualifying illnesses.
So What Happens Now?
The huge gains by Democrats in the House have some serious implications for Donald Trump and his Presidency. Control of the House gives Democrats subpoena powers, and there have already been reports that members of the Oversight and Ways and Means Committees are planning on requesting the President’s tax returns. They may also launch investigations into key members of the President’s cabinet. There may be pushback on the Trump legislative agenda that the President hasn’t had to deal with before.
Of course, Republican wins in the Senate are equally as significant. Picking up a number of seats makes them more secure when it comes to things like confirmation of Presidential appointees. Should the Democratic House of Representatives vote to begin impeachment proceedings against President Trump, the trial would occur in the Senate, which is now filled more securely with Trump supporters.
One thing is for sure – both sides will now focus their attention on campaigning for and winning the next round of elections in 2020.
Jenn Bentley moved to New Orleans with her husband and children in 2016. She has worked as an editor and writer for the past 10 years with publications like The High Tech Society, FansShare, Medium.com, and others. When she’s not writing or editing, Jenn spends her time raising money for Extra Life and advocating for autism awareness.