4 Quick Takeaways from the 2018 Midterm Elections
Last night, Nov. 6, were the 2018 midterm elections. Millions of Americans showed up to the ballot boxes (and even voted early) in order to make their voices heard this year — and for good reason. Some experts hailed this year’s election as the most important in our lifetime, one that could drastically change the course of our nation’s history.
Why? Because it provided the opportunity for Democrats to regain control of the House and Senate, which would help to contain Donald Trump and his conservative agenda — especially now that the Supreme Court skews to the right with not one, but two recent appointments by the current administration (Neil Gorsuch in 2017 and Brett Kavanaugh in 2018).
So, how did we do as a country last night? Read on for the biggest take aways, and what they mean going forward.
1. Democrats regained control of the House, but not the Senate.
The Dems didn’t take both the House and Senate (and therefore have total control of Congress), but this was actually the more expected scenario based on demographics and projections. Now that Democrats control one part of the legislative branch, Trump will have way more trouble getting laws passed. Democrats are also better positioned and more empowered to investigate Trump and his potential illegal activities. However, the fact that Dems didn’t take control of the Senate means that they won’t be able to block any potential Supreme Court nominations.
2. This election was major for women.
According to CNN, not only do exit polls indicate that women made up the majority of voters this year, but 2018 marks a huge win for women in office. There was a record-breaking number of women running, and according to Cook Political Report’s Dave Wasserman, there will now be over 100 women in the House for the first time in history. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York just became the youngest woman to ever be elected to Congress at 29 years old.
Sharice Davids of Kansas (and former MMA fighter) is now one of the first Native American women to ever be elected to the House, along with Deb Haaland of New Mexico. Rashida Tlaib just became the first Muslim woman in Congress. And that’s just to name a few.
CNN also notes that many of the women running focused on family issues and education, and that the midterms show that a female presidential candidate for 2020 may be the Democrats' best bet against Donald Trump in 2020.
3. However, women’s rights are still very much under assault.
Both West Virginia and Alabama officially passed anti-abortion amendments in their state constitutions. Because abortion is legal on a federal level, this will likely pave the way for a number of lawsuits in each state … lawsuits that could make their way to the Supreme Court. This is scary news for reproductive rights, because the court currently has a conservative slant (and Justice Kavanaugh once infamously implied that Roe v. Wade can be overturned).
4. Republicans had big wins in gubernatorial races.
CNN notes that Democrats had their eyes on both Ohio and Florida this year, but GOP candidates won the governorship in both. This could be telling of the 2020 presidential elections, because both are key swing states.
While the Nov. 6 elections definitely saw some victories for Dems, it also proved one major thing: We are still very much a country divided.
In the meantime, progressives can continue to donate to organizations like the ACLU and Planned Parenthood to help protect civil and reproductive rights — both of which are under assault in the current climate. Let’s use the current energy, anger, and excitement to enact more change come 2020.
This article originally appeared on Hello Giggles. For more stories like this, visit hellogiggles.com.