Who really won the US Mid Terms?
Donald Trump’s tweet is yet another example of the President’s tendency towards fabrication, exaggeration, and outright political spin.
Caimin Bugler | 3 December 2018

The Republicans strengthened their majority in the Senate - gaining 1 seat - while the Blue Wave gave the Democrats their first majority in the House of Representatives since 2011. In an election year where Donald Trump’s rhetoric on immigration, and the economy made headlines in the media, it was an election where votes were won on healthcare, Trump’s “caravan” message, seemingly falling on deaf ears. Yet, Donald Trump’s twitter feed on the morning after the nation had gone to the ballot suggested a different story, one of a big Republican Victory. So, who really won the US Mid-Terms? 

The Democrats won a majority in the House of Representatives for the first time since 2011, gaining 37 seats at the expense of the Republican Party. Such a majority in the House of Representatives enables the Democrats to play a significant check on the authority of the executive, namely Donald Trump and his legislative agenda. Future Trump legislative bills to repeal and replace Obamacare will surely fail to receive the consent of the House, as the Democrats are unlikely to tend towards bipartisanship on an ideologically asymmetrical bill. This surely a represents a defeat for the Republican Party, who in losing the House of Representatives have also lost the Congressional power of the purse.  

However, such losses on the legislative branches of government are not uncommon in US Politics for new Presidents. In 2010, the first Mid Terms of the Obama Presidency saw the Democrats lose the House and hold the Senate. Likewise, in 1994, during the first term of Bill Clinton the Democrats lost the House of Representatives, whilst holding the Senate. Thus, the results of the 2018 Mid Terms could be described a precedented rather than unprecedented but is difficult to regard such results as a “Big Win” for either the Republican Party or Donald Trump. 

Donald Trump’s tweet is yet another example of the President’s tendency towards fabrication, exaggeration, and outright political spin. This tweet is emblematic of all that is Donald Trump, a character who sees victory in all situations, and is enthused by the adversarial nature of politics. Perhaps, Trump regards this as a sign that his Presidency is being regarded as any other Presidency, that he has been accepted by his electorate as the true President of the United States. However, for any Republican realists, there must be a recognition of the political loss which has been the 2018 mid-terms. Losing the House of Representatives has put Donald Trump’s, and the Republican legislative agenda on the back foot until 2020, and probable beyond then. 

The Democrats hoped that their Blue Wave could swing the Senate, and this failed to materialise. However, in winning the House of Representatives they have formed a platform upon which to build. A platform which will enable a more complete accountability of Trump, and a stage on which to ready the Democrats for a Presidential push in 2020.  

The 2018 Mid Terms have been surprisingly normal in a turbulent, and unprecedented Presidency. Whilst Trump’s claim that the results represented a big Republican win is unsubstantiated, it is difficult to believe that it was an unprecedented defeat either.

Original illustration by Lewis Bushell

James Routledge 2016