Early on Election Night, the tube talkers were feeling a bit shaky when, contrary to their expectations, a couple of races tipped in favor of the Republicans. It began when Andy Barr (R-KY) held his seat in Kentucky’s 6th Congressional district. The Democrats targeted Barr and sent in an attractive candidate to oppose him – but to no avail. Then the Republicans flipped a Senate seat in Indiana when Mike Braun beat Incumbent Joe Donnelly. It was only just after 9 pm when Bret Baier began backtracking, saying that the FOX election models may not be panning out as predicted.
Next, Sarah Huckabee Sanders took to the airwaves sounding positive and upbeat: “We feel good about things,” she said, and pointed out that candidates who embraced the president’s vision and policies were the ones doing well. A reverse case in point was in Virginia’s 10th district, where incumbent Barbara Comstock (R-VA) – who wobbled like Jell-O on all things Trump – got her clock cleaned by Democrat Jennifer Wexton.
GOP Sings the Blues
The relatively buoyant mood was dampened just before 10 pm when FOX said Democrats would gain control of the U.S. House of Representatives for the first time in eight years. This paves the way for Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) to become the next Speaker of the House. It also raises the question as to whether the Democrats will choose mostly to legislate or investigate. Perhaps they will do a bit of both – who knows?
The fact that the Democrats gained control of the House comes as no real surprise but, without a doubt, it will make things more challenging for President Trump in advancing his agenda. That he campaigned in battleground states with high profile Senate races rather than House races may have signaled that even he could see the handwriting on the wall. Molly Hemmingway put the Trump effect in perspective when she said, “Trump was the number one asset for the Senate.”
No Blood Bath
Still, this was more of a blue night than a blue wave, and certainly not a blood bath for the GOP, whose Senate prospects got brighter as the evening progressed. They strengthened their hold on the upper chamber. While the final numbers are not yet in, it is all but certain that Republicans will have at least 52 seats,
What does this all add up to? The very fact that the Democrats did not trounce the GOP as most of the pollsters forecasted demonstrates that many Americans were voting for substance over style. They were able to understand that whether they like the president’s manner or even the man himself, the MAGA doctrine is working for the country.
Now we will have the opportunity to see how Mr. Trump fares with a house divided. Will the rebellious House cause him to hold, fold, or move forward with all due speed?