U.S. Mid-Terms: Backlash for Trump as Women Lead Democrat Surge

Nancy Pelosi on election night smiling over a crowd of supporters after her big win.

Photo: Zach Gibson/Getty Images

Although Donald Trump is congratulating himself on the Republican Party’s “big win” in last night’s U.S. mid-term elections, he may not continue to feel that way as the next two years unfold.

In what was largely cast as referendum on Donald Trump’s character, the Republicans did manage to gain in the Senate, but their majority in the House was wiped out, after the Democrats gained 28 seats.

The good news for the Democrats is that they now have control of the House, and for the first time will be able effectively check the President’s agenda.

Despite the victory, the expected Blue Wave never fully materialized, and the Democrats were nowhere close to the 63 seats the Republicans won in 2010 during the Obama administration.

The Democratic win in the House marks the surprising political comeback of 78-year-old Nancy Pelosi. Before the election, many Democrats believed the Speaker of the House was too old and out of touch to lead the party in the Age of Trump. Today she is being credited with orchestrating the Democrat victory and is poised to be Speaker once again. Her veteran leadership and “knowing the ropes” will make her an invaluable mentor to the new breed of House Democrats.

Last night’s results set the stage for a tumultuous session as a Democrat-led House will finally be able to check Trump’s agenda. A divided government will make it almost impossible for the President to get through any legislative accomplishments.

As well, with Democrats in charge of committees, the House will not be shy in investigating Trump’s many legal problems – his shady business ties, the financial dealings of the Trump foundation and his role on Russia’s intervention in the 2016 election.

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), the incoming chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, tipped his hand last night when he told the press, “I think the chances that Bob Mueller will be able to finish his work improved,” referring to the probe investigating Russian involvement in the 2016 presidential election.

As the President’s legislative agenda is stymied,  he’ll likely concentrate his efforts on his own political survival. He fired the first shot last night, trying to scare off any investigations with a not-so-veiled threat: “If the Democrats think they are going to waste Taxpayer Money investigating us at the House level, then we will likewise be forced to consider investigating them for all of the leaks of Classified Information, and much else, at the Senate level. Two can play that game!” he tweeted.

Before that drama plays out, there were plenty of highlights from last night’s election:

  • More women than ever before had put their names on the ballot this election, with most running for the Democratic Party. At least 92 won in the House and 10 in the Senate.
  • Women, especially those living in the suburbs, voted overwhelmingly for Democrat candidates, a loud repudiation of Trump’s policies and personality.
  • At 29, New York’s Democratic rising star Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez became the youngest woman ever to win a congressional election.
  • Rashida Tlaib, Michigan Democrat, and Ilhan Omar, of the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party, became the first Muslim women elected to Congress.
  • Democrats Sharice Davids and Deb Haaland became the first Native American women elected to Congress.
  • Jared Polis, Democrat from Colorado, becomes the first openly gay man to win as governor.
  • The so-called star candidates didn’t fare so well: Democrat Beto O’Rourke lost a razor-thin Senate election to Republican Ted Cruz in Texas and Florida’s Democrat Andrew Gillum lost another tight gubernatorial election to Ron DeSantis. And in the Georgia gubernatorial race, Oprah Winfrey-backed Democratic candidate Stacey Abrams lost to Republican Brian Kemp. (Although she hasn’t yet conceded).